In this article we take on a challenging picture book, The Heart and the Bottle written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, and how one preschool boy’s response changed us. As part of a three-center initiative to discuss hard feelings and grief with preschool learners, we teamed with six preschool teachers to read and work through this text. We explore how both the preschoolers’ and the teachers’ responses challenged us to look at how the disjoint between pedagogy (literature that says we should teach these types of texts) and practice (how this classroom experience actually unfolds) leaves much room for continued support. Drawing from Jessica Whitelaw’s call for the role of disquieting texts in children’s lives, this article holds both the imperative for these texts, and the difficulties of using them, at its heart (2017).

Author Biography

Catherine-Laura Dunnington

Catherine-Laura Dunnington (formerly Tremblay-Dion) is a doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa in the Faculty of Education. Her M.Ed. was obtained at the University of Montana where she subsequently taught preschool for several years. Her work focuses on literacy, early childhood education, and arts-based learning. She has been published in the International Journal of Education and the Arts, Bookbird: An International Journal of Children’s Literature, Education Review, and Root & Star Magazine.

Shoshana Magnet

Shoshana Magnet is an associate professor at the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies at the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa. Her books include the monograph When Biometrics Fail: Race, Gender and the Technology of Identity (Duke UP, 2011), and the edited collections The New Media Surveillance (co-edited with Kelly Gates, Routledge 2010) and Feminist Surveillance Studies (co-edited with Rachel Dubrofsky, Duke University Press 2015). She has published in journals including New Media and Society, Body & Society, Feminist Media Studies, and Women’s Studies Quarterly.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.