Village of the Heart

Village of the Heart

A review of Village Of The Heart by Barbara Sala

Published on June 1, 2009

Village Of The Heart
Barbara Sala


The Montreal Review of Books receives many copies of self-published books as submissions for review. The sad truth is that, despite the fact that self-publishers are increasingly sophisticated, market savvy, and ubiquitous, the books themselves are generally not very good. When an author publishes through a traditional publisher, the manuscript is subjected to a selection process. Manuscripts that have market appeal and good writing are more likely than others to be chosen for publication. Then comes the substantive editing, copyediting, and proofreading. Of course there are typos and mistakes in traditionally published books, but usually only a few. In many self-published books, which do not profit from this editing process, there are far too many.

So the self-published author has a book that has been spared real critical analysis, and is sometimes “edited” by a firm that is not particularly interested in a superior book. There is also the problem of distribution if the book is only available online, as many school boards and libraries have to buy through accredited bookstores.

All that being said, there are always a few that stand out as worthy of mention.

Barbara Sala’s Village of the Heart is a picture book for older readers, or older listeners. In an era where the text in children’s books is becoming more simple and sparse, the language here is polysyllabic and quite dense. Sala is a graphic artist, and her unusual, colourful and naïf pictures are the main focus of the book.

The plot is classic quest: Tipheret comes home to find her village destroyed by a two-headed fire dragon, and sets off with a talking stick, a kettle, and some toy houses to find her missing parents. She has plenty of adventures along the way, and is required to overcome obstacles, and to persevere. As in every classic children’s story, there is a happy ending. However, the strength of Village of the Heart is Sala’s bright acrylic-on-illustration-board artwork. mRb

Margaret Goldik is a former editor of the Montreal Review of Books.



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