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Heidi by Johanna Spyri, Fiction, Historical

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HEIDI is a delightful story for children of life in the Alps, one of many tales written by the Swiss authoress, Johanna Spyri, who died in her home at Zurich in 1891. She had been well known to the younger readers of her own country since 1880, when she published her story, HEIMATHLOS, which ran into three or more editions, and which, like her other books, as she states on HEIDI is a delightful story for children of life in the Alps, one of many tales written by the Swiss authoress, Johanna Spyri, who died in her home at Zurich in 1891. She had been well known to the younger readers of her own country since 1880, when she published her story, HEIMATHLOS, which ran into three or more editions, and which, like her other books, as she states on the title page, was written for those who love children, as well as for the youngsters themselves. Her own sympathy with the instincts and longings of the child's heart is shown in her picture of Heidi. The record of the early life of this Swiss child amid the beauties of her passionately loved mountain-home and during her exile in the great town has been for many years a favorite book of younger readers in Germany and America. Madame Spyri, like Hans Andersen, had by temperament a peculiar skill in writing the simple histories of an innocent world. In all her stories she shows an underlying desire to preserve children alike from misunderstanding and the mistaken kindness that frequently hinder the happiness and natural development of their lives and characters. The authoress, as we feel in reading her tales, lived among the scenes and people she describes, and the setting of her stories has the charm of the mountain scenery amid which she places her small actors.


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HEIDI is a delightful story for children of life in the Alps, one of many tales written by the Swiss authoress, Johanna Spyri, who died in her home at Zurich in 1891. She had been well known to the younger readers of her own country since 1880, when she published her story, HEIMATHLOS, which ran into three or more editions, and which, like her other books, as she states on HEIDI is a delightful story for children of life in the Alps, one of many tales written by the Swiss authoress, Johanna Spyri, who died in her home at Zurich in 1891. She had been well known to the younger readers of her own country since 1880, when she published her story, HEIMATHLOS, which ran into three or more editions, and which, like her other books, as she states on the title page, was written for those who love children, as well as for the youngsters themselves. Her own sympathy with the instincts and longings of the child's heart is shown in her picture of Heidi. The record of the early life of this Swiss child amid the beauties of her passionately loved mountain-home and during her exile in the great town has been for many years a favorite book of younger readers in Germany and America. Madame Spyri, like Hans Andersen, had by temperament a peculiar skill in writing the simple histories of an innocent world. In all her stories she shows an underlying desire to preserve children alike from misunderstanding and the mistaken kindness that frequently hinder the happiness and natural development of their lives and characters. The authoress, as we feel in reading her tales, lived among the scenes and people she describes, and the setting of her stories has the charm of the mountain scenery amid which she places her small actors.

30 review for Heidi by Johanna Spyri, Fiction, Historical

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    Heidi, a Swiss book originally published in German in 1881, was one of those books I grew up with: my mother had a simplified, abridged version of it that I read many times and loved as a child. When I realized the GR group "Catching up on the Classics" was doing it as a group read, I jumped in, excited for the chance to revisit Heidi and her simple, joyous life in the Swiss alps with her grandfather. Heidi, a 5 year old orphan, has been raised by her mother's sister Dete, who resents the Heidi, a Swiss book originally published in German in 1881, was one of those books I grew up with: my mother had a simplified, abridged version of it that I read many times and loved as a child. When I realized the GR group "Catching up on the Classics" was doing it as a group read, I jumped in, excited for the chance to revisit Heidi and her simple, joyous life in the Swiss alps with her grandfather. Heidi, a 5 year old orphan, has been raised by her mother's sister Dete, who resents the imposition. When Dete gets a good job offer, she marches Heidi up to the Swiss village where she was raised, the (fictional) village of Dörfli ("little village") and then even further up the mountain, to dump little Heidi on her unsuspecting grandfather, an embittered recluse. Despite being taken aback, the grandfather quickly takes to Heidi, admiring her intelligence and enthusiasm. She thrives in the lovely Swiss alps and country life, immediately shedding her more citified clothing and ways, and helping the local goatherd Peter. The Falknis mountain, with its two "towers," near where Heidi and Peter tend the goats Everyone around Heidi grows to love her: her grandfather, Peter, Peter's grandmother. The only problem is that "Alm-Uncle," her grandfather, has such a deep distrust of people and town life that he refuses to even send her to the village school. Heidi is growing up happy and uncivilized when her aunt Dete suddenly reappears after three years, determined to take Heidi to Frankfurt to be the companion of Clara, a rich but sickly and invalid girl. Our bouncy, enthusiastic girl starts to feel desperately unhappy, cooped up in the big city. But Heidi has lessons to learn, and God has a plan. I loved the detailed descriptions of the lovely Alps and life there in olden times. I suppose Heidi is a bit of a Mary Sue character, but her exuberant nature, jumping around all the time like a young goat, was charming. And -- continuing the animal metaphors -- I really felt for her when she felt like a trapped bird in Frankfurt, though the wasting away thing was a bit over the top. The Alm-Uncle's character, bitter toward mankind generally but loving toward his bright granddaughter, seemed entirely believable to me, and honestly I got a bit teary as he began, like the prodigal son in Christ's parable, to find his way back to harmony with God and with his fellow men. Clara's devout grandmamma is a paragon of saintliness but has a little humor to leaven her spiritual lessons to Heidi; Peter's ailing, blind grandmother is equally devout but would fit in well with other Victorian-era sickly but wise characters. The preachiness got a little too heavy-handed toward the end, although I did appreciate the message of continuing to trust God even when your prayers aren't answered immediately, and at the same time needing to take action to improve your own circumstances, as much as you can. I also can't help but be charmed with the notion that country living, with lots of fresh goat milk and toasted goat cheese on bread, brisk mountain air and the beauty of nature, heals pretty much everything. Mmmmm! ... okay, actually I don't like goat cheese, toasted or otherwise, but I have to say Heidi tempts me to give it another shot. All in all I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Heidi and her friends again, after many years apart. I recommend Heidi to readers who like old-fashioned children's classics, like Anne of Green Gables, and don't mind a healthy dose of religious content in their reading. A note on English translations: Since this book is over 100 years old, it's out of copyright and there are several free English versions available. I read parts of Heidi in German and did some comparisons between the three English versions I found on Project Gutenberg. None of them completely satisfied me, but I thought this one was the best, closest to the original German text without being unbearably awkward: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1448. I'm sure there are better translations out there, but I was working with what I could find free online. Whatever version you pick up, make sure you get both halves of the story, which was originally published in two parts (the second half has Clara visiting Switzerland).

  2. 4 out of 5

    Justin Tate

    The most feel-good story of all time? Possibly. Heidi’s infectious pleasantness carries easily over the Swiss alps and into my life, nearly 140 years later. Despite a plot of idealized happiness, the cast of characters are not without flaw. The moments of conflict, though never described in severe terms, are the kind of dilemmas that transcend time and place. And the mountain, the healing mountain, is the perfect setting to mend. Purely from a style perspective, I was equally impressed with Spyri The most feel-good story of all time? Possibly. Heidi’s infectious pleasantness carries easily over the Swiss alps and into my life, nearly 140 years later. Despite a plot of idealized happiness, the cast of characters are not without flaw. The moments of conflict, though never described in severe terms, are the kind of dilemmas that transcend time and place. And the mountain, the healing mountain, is the perfect setting to mend. Purely from a style perspective, I was equally impressed with Spyri’s writing chops. Heidi has one of the most dynamite, blockbuster opening chapters I’ve ever read. Journeying up a mountainside, destined to live with a strange, fearful uncle. It’s got it all. You can’t NOT finish a book that starts this good.

  3. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    Heidi's Ten Life Enriching Lessons for Grownups: I normally read children's books during Christmastime. Not only to catch up with my Reading Challenge (I am behind by 10 books as of this writing), but also, most of children's books have life lessons that can be good reminders for the coming year. New Year always means new beginning, new hope. Do you remember when you were still in school and after reading a story in class, the teacher asked you what was the lessons you learned from it? So, in Heidi's Ten Life Enriching Lessons for Grownups: I normally read children's books during Christmastime. Not only to catch up with my Reading Challenge (I am behind by 10 books as of this writing), but also, most of children's books have life lessons that can be good reminders for the coming year. New Year always means new beginning, new hope. Do you remember when you were still in school and after reading a story in class, the teacher asked you what was the lessons you learned from it? So, in this year's series of children's books, I will try to list the ten lessons I was reminded while reading a certain book. 1) Prayer is powerful. Sometimes we feel helpless and all we have left is to pray. Sometimes God does not give what we ask for because it may not be good for us yet or there is something else, a better one, that He will give us. 2) Nature was once a sight to behold. Never been to Swiss Alps, the setting of this novel but one of my favorite movies is "The Sound of Music" and that opening scene where Maria is singing on top of the mountain is gloriously beautiful. With the global warming and the continuous degradation of forests worldwide, I wonder how that mountain looks like now. 3) Your conscience can haunt you. The goat shepherd boy, Peter, did something unforgivable and "the little man" inside him haunts him that he could not eat, sleep and he becomes suspicious of all men who go up to the mountain as he thinks his uncle will give him in to the police. Until he decides to tell the truth. In this world of chaos, full of deceits and treachery, it is nice to be reminded that no alibis or justifications can cover up misdeeds and injustices. We should all come clean and the sooner the better. 4) Nothing compares to doing good deeds. These all sound like motherhood statements and pies in the sky. Cliches. However, Heidi has nothing in her heart but to love her grandfather, grandmother, Peter, Clara and all the characters in the book. In the end, she becomes happy. If only life is as simple as this. However, we all know that we reap what we sow, so why resist? It is better to be in the bright, happy side. 5) Fresh air, fresh food, clean water, happiness galore. Most sickness are psychological. Most diseases are caused by the environment. Pollution. Too much stress. Processed food. Fast food. Clara, the invalid, gets well when she stays with her positive friend Heidi atop the mountain. This part reminded me of the boy in The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. But this book, Heidi was first published in 1880 and The Secret Garden in 1910 so this must be the original. 6) Children can be wiser than grownups. This is a much-used plot in children's books but still holds true. We grownups, we parents, have many things to learn from our children. If you are a parent, you know this. No debates. 7) Goats can be endearing. My mother and father love dogs, cats, fowls, birds, monkeys, etc. So, when I was growing up in the province, our backyard was like a zoo. However, I did not know that goats can be nice to take care too. Goat meat is one of the favorites of some men here in Manila to go with their booze. 8) Don't resist change. Rather, embrace it. Heidi did not go back to the mountain to resist studying. Rather, she brings her writing materials and books to the mountain and study there with her friend Clara. She even teaches Peter to read. 9) Words can be powerful especially if the one who is sending it has the credibility. Heidi has not done a nasty thing in her life so when she speaks even the stubborn Peter pays attention. The grandmother's frail body and gloomy world suddenly bright up when Heidi is around. 10) Grumpy old men need young girls. No, I don't mean the dirty way. The grumpy hermit-like grandfather living alone on top of the mountain because he hates the world is convinced by Heidi to go back to the town. She has that very positive influence to everyone around her including his now-cynic grandfather. Very positive novel. Said to be the one of the most-read most-loved ever book in Switzerland. This has been translated to 60 languages and read by all people around the world. You are not well-read if you have not read this. (This sound like coming from my grumpy side, don't you think?)

  4. 5 out of 5

    emma

    I don't know what it is about this book, but I just...didn't like it that much? And I really like classics. And I really like children's books. And I REALLY like children's classics. I also really, REALLY liked the other three books (A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables) in this collection. But I...did not care for this. It was just very boring, I didn't think the writing was that pretty, and I didn't care for the characters that much. Being a 22 year old writing a semi-negative I don't know what it is about this book, but I just...didn't like it that much? And I really like classics. And I really like children's books. And I REALLY like children's classics. I also really, REALLY liked the other three books (A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables) in this collection. But I...did not care for this. It was just very boring, I didn't think the writing was that pretty, and I didn't care for the characters that much. Being a 22 year old writing a semi-negative review of a children's book from 150 years ago feels absurd. Bottom line: Not for me! ---------- i love plotless 19th century children's classics as much as the next girl... but i still could have used a bit more plot in this one. review to come / 2.5 stars ---------- honestly how could i NOT read a book with a cover this pretty

  5. 4 out of 5

    notgettingenough

    Mostly during primary school my chosen prospective career was saint. Ah, but then there was the period where I discovered Heidi and as I read and reread it a bunch of times, I most fervently wanted to become a goatherd, with all that this entailed. The bell. The sleeping snuggled into warm hay in the attic. The eating of too much cheese. So taken was I with the idea of Switzerland that when we were asked, about grade 6, where we were going for the term holiday, I – who had never been on a holiday Mostly during primary school my chosen prospective career was saint. Ah, but then there was the period where I discovered Heidi and as I read and reread it a bunch of times, I most fervently wanted to become a goatherd, with all that this entailed. The bell. The sleeping snuggled into warm hay in the attic. The eating of too much cheese. So taken was I with the idea of Switzerland that when we were asked, about grade 6, where we were going for the term holiday, I – who had never been on a holiday because we were way too poor – said Switzerland. I just might have gotten away with this but for the fact that my mother taught in the senior school. Since I had further elaborated when pressed, that we were going by boat – another fixation I had throughout childhood, seafaring – and the term holiday was a mere fortnight, news soon spread through the school that my mother was leaving her teaching job. In case you don’t get the plot so far, I was weaving this fantasy in Australia where I was born and raised. Never mind the trouble I got into for this, it didn’t in the least affect my taste for anything Swittish. Since then, as an adult I’ve been able to visit Switzerland five times, mostly Geneva. By no means goatherd territory, but still. You can see Geneva as a straightforwardly beautiful city. You can see it through Australian eyes as having that aesthetic qualities of age that our cities so lack, not to mention the mountain backdrop the like of which we would never see at home. Or you can see it, I discover, as a young child would whose dreams were always of other places. I confess as I’ve wandered about the city, staring at those snow-capped mountains, to feeling that I have come home in some way that I’m sure derives from the profound effect this utterly magical book had on me when I read it so long ago. I don’t know if other people wonder if they have let down the small bundles of hopes and dreams they once were, but I do. It breaks my heart, the idea that I might have disappointed that little hopeful dreaming thing I was once, and I have found it a very emotional experience being in this dream I once went to sleep with every night. I really can’t remember, but I hope she – I – did always believe dreams come true. Yeah, well. Sometimes they do.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Thanks to all the bowdlerized, Disneyfied stupidifications it's been through, poor old Heidi's story gets a bum rap. In fact, Heidi is no sap, and more to the point, her friend Clara with the wheelchair is no timid Victorian dying violet. Somebody plonked this great big book in my lap when I was seven years old, a good reader, and in need of something heavy to hold me down on a long car trip. It worked; it took me off from my flat prairie summer to a land of purple mountain peaks and jumping Thanks to all the bowdlerized, Disneyfied stupidifications it's been through, poor old Heidi's story gets a bum rap. In fact, Heidi is no sap, and more to the point, her friend Clara with the wheelchair is no timid Victorian dying violet. Somebody plonked this great big book in my lap when I was seven years old, a good reader, and in need of something heavy to hold me down on a long car trip. It worked; it took me off from my flat prairie summer to a land of purple mountain peaks and jumping goats and snow that piled up above the windows in the winter. Heidi comes to live with her grandfather when she is five years old, up high on the mountain where he shuns and is shunned by the village below. For the next three years, she sees almost no one else but the goatherd, Peter, and his mother, grandmother, and the goats. She is never lonely; she is like a nature spirit, communing with the wind, sun, trees, eagles and flowers. It is only when her aunt comes to take her away to Frankfort, to be a companion to ill, housebound Clara, that homesickness and loneliness set in. Heidi's rescue concludes the first half of the book, the half most people know; how Heidi heals the people in her life is the second and more interesting half. I have returned to this book so often that my 1921 edition is all worn out and crumbly, with the plates falling out. Spyri creates a world I would like to live in. I don't know if it ever existed. There are elements of melodrama in the story that are sometimes too sweet for the modern palate, but the scenery is vivid and honest and the pathos is, for the most part, truly felt.

  7. 5 out of 5

    April (Aprilius Maximus)

    This was so precious! A little preachy and had some very traditional views in regards to disabilities and such, but the setting and atmosphere of the book reminded me a lot of Anne of Green Gables and made me so happy <3

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Heidi is a basic white girl with a fondness for mountain air and goats.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dhanaraj Rajan

    I cried a lot out of happiness reading this book.................... The tears flowed out of my eyes without me noticing them........... The story begins well and is lively and after certain chapters (after the first half, to be precise), the novel contains only pure and innocent happiness. Each chapter in the second half gets better and the happiness begins and flows through the chapters making the reader very sentimental and longing for such lovely landscapes, friendships, relationships, and I cried a lot out of happiness reading this book.................... The tears flowed out of my eyes without me noticing them........... The story begins well and is lively and after certain chapters (after the first half, to be precise), the novel contains only pure and innocent happiness. Each chapter in the second half gets better and the happiness begins and flows through the chapters making the reader very sentimental and longing for such lovely landscapes, friendships, relationships, and happiness. I do not want to say anything about the plot. I just only want to make some observations. This is a lovely book for the kids and as well as for the adults. For Kids: It will teach them first and foremost that Love is the foundation for happiness of man. It will teach them to establish lovely relationships. It will teach them to love all. It will teach them to love the landscapes, the environments and the animals. It will teach them to pray. It will give them much to cheer about. For Adults: It will speak to them of forgiveness. It will speak to them of the vanity of riches, or rather it will teach them the right usage of riches. It will teach them to appreciate the richness of relationships and the expansive nature. It will take them to their innocent childhood memories. It will give them much to cheer about. Final Note: It is a fact that nothing much is known about the author of HEIDI, Johanna Spyri. In her lifetime when she was asked to write her autobiography, she replied thus: "The external path of my life is very simple, and there is nothing special to be mentioned. My inner life was full of storms, but who can describe it?" And even if a star is very far and its details are hard to get by, still its shining splendor is more than enough for our limited vision. J. Spyri will always be remembered as the author of HEIDI and that is the greatest recognition. Thank you Johanna Spyri for giving us HEIDI.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    FREE good-quality audio recording of Heidi, narrated by Kara Shallenberg: http://librivox.org/heidi-by-johanna-... Heidi is a childhood favorite. All the evils of the world might be cured by mountain air, kindness, and goat's milk. Vividly descriptive. Just whisk me to the Swiss Alps, bright with myriad blossoms, fragrant with fir and pine, alive with birdsong. The blessings of nature surround, the sun shines down all around, and never an unkind sound. Heidi is five — pale and small — when she FREE good-quality audio recording of Heidi, narrated by Kara Shallenberg: http://librivox.org/heidi-by-johanna-... Heidi is a childhood favorite. All the evils of the world might be cured by mountain air, kindness, and goat's milk. Vividly descriptive. Just whisk me to the Swiss Alps, bright with myriad blossoms, fragrant with fir and pine, alive with birdsong. The blessings of nature surround, the sun shines down all around, and never an unkind sound. Heidi is five — pale and small — when she first moves to Grandfather's simple alpine home, where the heavens twinkle right into her sleeping loft. Soon she's running barefoot, limber as the goats, burnished in the sun, glowing with health. Happy. Then the dark days, abducted by nasty Aunt Dete, hustled away to dreary Frankfurt and Fraulien Rotten-weiller. Heidi, wasting away, miserably homesick, day after day. Young Klara, wheelchair-bound and brave. Klara's kind grandmama. A foolish houseman, afraid of ghosts. The wise doctor. The reunion. Even now, I choke up when Grandfather and Heidi are reunited. If he can cry on the sly, then so can I. Tenderhearted but gruff is Grandfather, an outcast with a shameful past. The Prodigal Son, neatly simplified and personified for children. Young Peter, a boy on the verge. His kind, blind grandmother. Bread and hymns. A timeless classic for children, a non-romantic romance, for on Grandfather's mountain, everything ends well. Somewhat sappy, slightly preachy, probably idealized, yet I fall for it every time. Spyri surprised a few chuckles out of me, too. Based on the true story of Heidi Schwaller, who was 92 in 2008: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/heidi-loo... Movie with Shirley Temple. Brava! MORE free audio recording by Kara Shallenberg at LibriVox.org. Here is the list: http://librivox.org/reader/19?primary...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Manybooks

    Johanna Spyri's Heidi is a novel that is not only an enduring classic (first published in 1881, still going strong, a perennial favourite, and still remarkably enjoyable), but it is also one of those books that can be read and perhaps even should be read on a multitude of different and equally rewarding levels. And like with many children's classics I consider personal favourites, my review will consist of primarily musings and detailed analyses of certain parts and aspects of the narrative. I Johanna Spyri's Heidi is a novel that is not only an enduring classic (first published in 1881, still going strong, a perennial favourite, and still remarkably enjoyable), but it is also one of those books that can be read and perhaps even should be read on a multitude of different and equally rewarding levels. And like with many children's classics I consider personal favourites, my review will consist of primarily musings and detailed analyses of certain parts and aspects of the narrative. I will also provide information on English language translations of Heidi and possible considerations for choosing certain editions over others. Now this here particular edition of Heidi is a German language Kindle version I recently downloaded on my iPad (both parts, complete, unabridged, and written in the new orthography, the "neue Rechtschreibung"). And indeed with Heidi in particular, one really does have to be careful avoiding abridged printings, unless one is actually desiring a shortened offering (for both in German and in English, and likely with many other languages as well, abridgements seem to exist en masse and sometimes, it is not even made clear that a particular edition has been significantly shortened, so potential readers beware, is my suggestion). Case in point, TWO of my hardback copies of Heidi (German language), which I thought were unabridged when I purchased them, turned out to have significant parts of entire chapters removed (something that definitely was NOT mentioned on the book cover). HOW TO READ HEIDI Now Heidi can of course be read simply and enjoyably as a sweet tale of an adorable and personable young orphan whose soul and inner beauty shine, and who with her personality, with her love, her sweetness and tenderheartedness, and aided by many of her friends/family, especially her grandfather once he himself has been won over, brings not only joy but also health and wisdom to those around her (except of course her aunt Dete and perhaps the Frankfurt governess, who are just plain stubborn and never affected in a positive way by Heidi's charms and mannerisms). And well, these above-mentioned words are a very basic and for me as an older adult (and generally rather academic) reader, in no way sufficient analysis of Heidi's life and struggles, but it is a good place to start, and yes a decent way to whet a potential reader's appetite (especially a first time reader). However, reading Heidi on purely a basic level, while more than appropriate and adequate for children and casual readers, really (in my opinion) only scratches the proverbial surface so to speak, and in a very much superficial manner at that. For Heidi is deceptively simple, and underneath the descriptive joys of Swiss alpine glory and beauty, of what one can call a wholesome childhood, much darker and problematic material is indeed often hiding (and no pun is intended here). And yes, even the original German titles of the two parts parts of Heidi, Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre and Heidi kann brauchen, was es gelernt hat allude to the fact that Johanna Spyri is actually also harkening back to two of the most famous "Bildungsromane" (novels of development) in the German language, namely Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Wilhelm Meister novels (the first volume being being titled Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre and the sequel Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre). However, while in most traditional novels of development, it is generally the main protagonist who develops, who changes, who matures, Heidi herself really never all that much changes, never really develops and certainly never matures all that much. Her sojourn to Frankfurt, while it might have had the positive result of her learning to read (which she then later uses to bring joy to the grandmother and reading as a skill to the stubbornly illiterate Peter) and giving her more of an understanding of religion and patience, also proves once once for all that Heidi is for all intents and purposes not resilient, is not mentally and psychologically robust (that she will thrive only in a very limited and limiting environment, in the Alps, the Swiss mountains, and not just anywhere in Switzerland either, but specifically only on her grandfather's alpine meadows). And yes, many have both noticed and stated that Heidi's friend Clara is seemingly miraculously healed while on her alpine visit to Heidi (whether by God or due to the robust natural environment of the Alps is of course quite another question). But if one actually takes the time to consider a detailed characterisation of Clara, she is in fact and indeed (and right from the beginning of Heidi at that) considerably more psychologically robust and resilient and thus also much more "healthy" than Heidi (at least on a spiritual and emotional level). Now when Clara is able to actually stand and walk, she is of course totally delighted that her physical strength has been restored (as are her father and grandmother), but in my opinion, Clara has truly always been considerably stronger than Heidi spiritually and psychically (and Clara is thus able to leave the Alps after her visit, after her "cure" but Heidi must forever remain in this specific place, as any other place will elicit not only homesickness, but the kind of homesickness that eats the soul, and will ultimately destroy the sufferer). Furthermore, while Heidi as a novel does (as mentioned above) allude to Goethe's Wilhelm Meister novels, the main character (Heidi) is actually more based on, more similar to the character of Mignon than Wilhelm Meister himself (except that unlike the doomed Mignon, Heidi is granted release and reprieve in so far that she is allowed to remain in and on the Alps, the one place that is suitable for and to her, unmoving, unchanging, but alive and to a point thriving, while Mignon is ultimately destroyed by her homesickness, by her yearning for Italy). And thus, from a purely developmental point of view and philosophy, Johanna Spyri's Heidi as a character is thus really and truly much less nuanced, much less rounded and much more unyielding and stagnant than her grandfather, than Clara (and yes, even than the stubborn and often annoyingly obstinate Peter). For yes, throughout the course of Heidi, many of the encountered characters do seem to mature, to become healthier and heartier, increasingly educated and aware, but with Heidi, this really only occurs on a very sporadic and partial, superficial level at best (and mostly with regard to her ability to read, her trust in God and that she now sees and realises which household tasks require doing). Her mental and emotional stagnation, her lack of psychological fortitude (which she likely has inherited from her deceased mother), her inability to endure change of any kind and a variety of circumstances never really do all that much fluctuate (and with this in mind, Heidi is actually to be considered as being very much like those same alpine flowers encountered at the beginning of the novel, wildflowers that while bright, glowing and healthy while rooted in the alpine ground, very quickly lose their bloom, very quickly wilt and droop as soon as they are picked and transported away from the meadows they call home). HEIDI ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS For those reading Heidi in English or more to the point, desiring to read this book in English, there are indeed many, many different and vastly variable translations available (from 1882-1959 alone, something like fifteen different English language translations of Heidi were published). Now I have not read all of these, but I have read at least three separate English language editions, and each offers unique reading experiences. With regard to readability, flow, and if one is primarily reading for simple enjoyment (or to and with children), the 1956 translation by Eileen Hall is excellent and highly recommended (although many of the character names have been anglicised, and even some of the specific geographic references omitted). Earlier translations by Louise Brooks and Helen B. Dole, while they do retain a more slavish adherence to the original German text, are also translated in a much more literal manner and thus readability and narrative flow at times do rather suffer, feeling awkward and halting (in other words, one is often painfully aware of the fact that these are, in fact, translations). It is a matter of personal choice, but for me, for academic comparisons, I would tend to recommend the older translations of Heidi, while for pleasure reading, Eileen Hall's translation is truly superb.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    My two favorite aunts gave me Heidi when I was eight years old. I don't know if it was Christmas or birthday; all I know is I have them to thank not only for this but for Anne of Green Gables (and my very favorite stuffed bear Snowball), bless their names forever. As with Anne, I read Heidi over and over (and over), and followed up with some of the sequels from the library, and loved it dearly; unlike with Anne, though, I haven't read Heidi in many years. The Goodreads Kindred Spirits group My two favorite aunts gave me Heidi when I was eight years old. I don't know if it was Christmas or birthday; all I know is I have them to thank not only for this but for Anne of Green Gables (and my very favorite stuffed bear Snowball), bless their names forever. As with Anne, I read Heidi over and over (and over), and followed up with some of the sequels from the library, and loved it dearly; unlike with Anne, though, I haven't read Heidi in many years. The Goodreads Kindred Spirits group chose it as their "Akin to Anne" group read for last June, and I fully intended to join in then, but in the end it took being faced on December 30 with a Challenge shortcoming of two books for me to pick up what surely had to be a quick read so as to meet my goal. (It worked.) I was a little worried. Childhood memories are fragile. It doesn't take much to stain a current opinion, leaching backward to taint what was so beloved. But, I'm happy to say, Heidi came through it just about unscathed. Peter didn't, but I'll come to that. The story: Heidi is an orphan at six, and lives with her aunt until said aunt gets a job and decides that the girl's grandfather is just going to have to serve his time looking after the child, no matter how alarming his reputation is. Just about everyone Aunt Dete meets exclaims in horror at the idea of leaving the poor child with the old man, the Alm-Uncle; he hates everyone, and makes no secret of it. She's doomed. Dete is not an admirable character, but I will say for her that she is tough: she ploughs on despite the exclamations of horror and barely even gives the Alm-Uncle a chance to say no before she vanishes, leaving grandfather and granddaughter together. And it's fine. It's better than fine. Heidi flourishes, with her grandfather providing quiet but loving support and the goats and Peter providing entertainment, and her own active nature keeping her constantly occupied. And Grandfather flourishes a bit himself, softening and expanding a bit. And when that aunt of hers pops up again a couple of years later and sweeps Heidi away with her again to dump her on a wealthy household that needs a companion for wheelchair-bound Klara, Heidi's small following on the mountain suffers her loss. It was startling how much I remembered. I, who have trouble remembering details from a book I read last month, remembered the white rolls, and the kittens, and what happened to the wheelchair; I remembered the hayloft beds (maybe because I wanted one so badly when I was little) and the wonderful goats' milk and the other bed behind the stove. And it was all still very, very sweet. Except for Peter. I was taken aback by what a nasty piece of work he had the potential to be. I remember loving Peter. Perhaps that was because of the other books, but here – here he is selfish and lazy and greedy, and a little stupid. He shakes his fists at the interloper on Heidi's time, and then there's the wheelchair incident; he did damage. He was a little scary. If he hadn't had the fear of capture put into him, and hadn't had the Alm-Uncle's influence curbing his behavior, it seems like he might have ended up a serious problem. Heidi is a type of little heroine which I tend to doubt is written much anymore. Everything impacts her personally, from the grandmother's blindness to the tribulations of the goats. She's a simple, entirely selfless child with no desire to be anything else. She's not clever, per se; she can learn and learn quickly when she wants to, but she'd rather be out romping with the goats than reading. Which, now that I think of it, very likely has a good deal to do with her decline in Frankfort with Klara: she went from having hours of exercise in the fresh air, along with a simple diet (very simple – I was a little shocked at the amount of bread and butter and cheese and milk, and the paucity of meat and green vegetables) to almost no exercise and three meals a day of rich food (with more processed flour, at that). No wonder the child felt poorly. It wasn't just homesickness and worry over the elderly folk on the mountain. The rest of the cast of characters were very satisfying. Peter's mother and grandmother were drawn as simple, grateful folk; I've been trying to remember what it was that I read in which the poor characters continually refused gifts, even of things they needed desperately, because they could not accept "charity"; Peter's family had no such compunctions, and the gifts they received did what they were supposed to do: they gave joy to the recipients and the givers. I loved the doctor and Klara's grandmother – they were beautifully drawn. I wanted to smack Klara's father a bit, or at least to find out what was so very important in his business life that he had to abandon his daughter to the servants and the aptly-named Frau Rottenmeier for months on end. The French maid was surprisingly bitchy (though I can't help but wonder if some of her comments weren't effectively translated; they were delivered as cutting remarks, but read like cryptic non sequiturs). The butler, Sebastian, was a love. And, last but not least, I enjoyed watching the grandfather show a bit more depth and three-dimensionality by the end of the book. The affection I have for the book remains intact. I love it when that happens.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    We stopped reading after the first 100 pages. We have listened to an audio book that I think must have been an unabridged reading of the book, as we feel that we know the story completely and reading the book isn't bringing anything new for us. As we have many books on our to read shelf at the moment we are going to put this on hold and perhaps return later.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

    This was one of my favourite books as a kid! Something about the sense of adventure, I suppose, and Heidi just being her own girl. She was so spirited and hopeful and her life in the city damn near broke my heart. I did read a kid's version of it though so I wonder if it's time to seek out the original and see how much was different?

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Very similar theme to The Secret Garden - fresh air & country kid causes incredible cure in rich invalid kid. The parenting is slightly better, but still quite distant. Overall, the story read more like an outline most of the time. The characters weren't very deep, although there was an air of mystery about several which attempted to make them more interesting. Worked a bit for some. Most were just caricatures, though. The ending was predictable. The main character was a cheerful chatterbox Very similar theme to The Secret Garden - fresh air & country kid causes incredible cure in rich invalid kid. The parenting is slightly better, but still quite distant. Overall, the story read more like an outline most of the time. The characters weren't very deep, although there was an air of mystery about several which attempted to make them more interesting. Worked a bit for some. Most were just caricatures, though. The ending was predictable. The main character was a cheerful chatterbox that certainly would have been annoying if anything else of interest was going on. Still, she was fun in context. About halfway through, Spyri got more & more into a religious moral message that was as heavy-handed as it was ridiculous. It was obviously what she wrote the book for & yet it felt tacked on (hammered) in places. I can see where this would make a good movie & vaguely recall watching it (parts) years ago. I've heard many say they liked it. That makes sense since the story could easily be updated & filled out for a movie. I'd suggest watching that rather than reading this.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette "Astute Crabbist"

    My sister and I were so enamored of this book when we were little. With that in mind, I'll let my four-star rating stand. However, I recently ran across a copy of the book and thought it might be fun to read it again after all these years. Nostalgia and all that, right? I was sickened by the over-the-top flowery writing. Gaaaaag me with syrupy sentiment! I was also surprised by all the gooey religious references, which I didn't remember AT ALL from my childhood readings of it. I don't object to My sister and I were so enamored of this book when we were little. With that in mind, I'll let my four-star rating stand. However, I recently ran across a copy of the book and thought it might be fun to read it again after all these years. Nostalgia and all that, right? I was sickened by the over-the-top flowery writing. Gaaaaag me with syrupy sentiment! I was also surprised by all the gooey religious references, which I didn't remember AT ALL from my childhood readings of it. I don't object to religion in books. It's part of the world in which we live. But Johanna Spyri was ridiculously preachy and gushing in her religious passages. Fortunately for me, revisiting the book cannot and did not spoil my happy memories with my sister, imagining we were Heidi of the Alps. :)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

    This was so cute and heartwarming, if a bit preachy, but it is a product of its time period in that way. But I really loved it overall!

  18. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    Reading a children’s classic as an adult can be a trip down memory lane, but it can also be something of a disappointment … well sort of. My recent reread of Heidi was a little of both. It was wonderful to revisit this old childhood favorite. It brought back many very happy memories and I did indeed experience something of that wonder of that first encounter all those years ago. The book, Heidi, represents—for me—a place or anyway a sense of place. It is the Swiss Alps. It was my introduction Reading a children’s classic as an adult can be a trip down memory lane, but it can also be something of a disappointment … well sort of. My recent reread of Heidi was a little of both. It was wonderful to revisit this old childhood favorite. It brought back many very happy memories and I did indeed experience something of that wonder of that first encounter all those years ago. The book, Heidi, represents—for me—a place or anyway a sense of place. It is the Swiss Alps. It was my introduction to Switzerland and to all the beauty of mountains and dwelling on high. It was the first time a book reached out and physically put me somewhere else. It was also my introduction to a strong female protagonist. I remember being so impressed by Heidi and so pleased by her every accomplishment. It was important to have a character who was good, positive, likable, able and willing to learn and a girl besides because usually it was the boys who got to do all the brave, fun and exciting deeds. Girls tended to sit at home, be in the background, somewhat negative or the love-interest at best. Stories about girls, where the girl actually did something, went someplace and even were the focus of the book—now here was something noteworthy. Although today there are many more books with such girl characters, when I was young, this was not the case. Heidi was therefore very important. The memory of Heidi’s mountains stayed with me long after childhood. As an adult, Switzerland was the first place on my list of countries to visit when I was stationed overseas in the military. Later when my husband and I were returning to the United States we selected an oil painting of a quaint little Swiss cottage nestled at the base of some mountains to bring back with us which hangs in our living room today. It’s my dream place, my Heidi-home. But can you return to your childhood? Well, I think this reunion could have been improved with a little girl to share it with. As it was, some parts of the book were so sweet and achingly familiar I knew what was coming next before even turning the page, which made me wonder if I’d actually read it that often or the book was that predictable. Not sure about that...? It's a simple story, but that isn't a criticism. Other parts, the prayer aspect for instance, I do not remember at all. That message must have been absorbed with the goat’s milk. Reading the novel now as an adult, Johanna Spyri handled it extremely well. She teaches her (mostly) young readers that prayer makes a difference, is heard by a loving God, needs to be persistent and may be answered in ways different, even better than we imaged. These are positive lessons slipped in between the rest of the story. Given it's 1880 publication date this is in keeping with juvenile writing styles of the era. So in conclusion, dear Heidi, while I've no idea how many times this read is, I hope and pray it isn’t the last! And also hope that next time, may there be a little girl (or two)—or even a little boy or two—on my lap or nearby to share this story with. Until then! ======================================= I read Heidi as a very young girl and it so captured my imagination that I read it many more times. It caused me to fall in love with the mountains though I'm afraid of heights. It prompted my desire for travel and filled my head with dreams of faraway places. It motivated me to join the military, go to Europe, and travel to Switzerland, so I could see Heidi's Alps. While I was there I bought a picture with an Alpine cottage nestled in the base of some trees with the most gorgeous mountains in the background. So much in this story is meaningful for me, but guess I should finish rereading the book and then write my review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rikke

    When I was 8 years old I had a best friend. Whenever we had a sleepover we would find some of her picture books and flip through them before bedtime. One of my favorite stories was the one about Heidi; the pictures of the beautiful, blonde girl living in the mountains among goats and pretty flowers captured me. I really adored the story and I still remember some of the pictures. I did not think that I would remember the story. After all, I had never actually read the book, just looked at the When I was 8 years old I had a best friend. Whenever we had a sleepover we would find some of her picture books and flip through them before bedtime. One of my favorite stories was the one about Heidi; the pictures of the beautiful, blonde girl living in the mountains among goats and pretty flowers captured me. I really adored the story and I still remember some of the pictures. I did not think that I would remember the story. After all, I had never actually read the book, just looked at the colorful pictures. But as it turned out, I could remember. Reading this book for the first time felt like revisiting a beloved childhood story. And I remembered it all. "Heidi" is a rather simple, naturalistic tale about the healthy life, living in harmony with nature and choosing a home for oneself. It is easy to compare to Frances Hodgson Burnett's "The Secreet Garden", but it is also something quite unique with a dear main character who finds joy in every sunbeam and every flower. It is adorable. Helplessly charming and sweetly old-fashioned. The perfect comfort-read on a rainy day.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rowena

    I love,love,love this book!One of my childhood favourites. Despite the fact that I hate milk, reading this book always made me wish I could live on a farm and drink fresh milk every day. I also wanted to have a bed of hay in the loft, never thought of how itchy it might get!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lesle

    A beautiful and heart touching story of Heidi and her early life on the Alm. Her Aunt leaves her with Alm-Uncle her Grandfather in a small hut of little means. She is so attached to the Alp life that when she is taken away by her Aunt to Frankfort, even her best efforts to be with Klara does not stop her from longing for her life back home. Eventually she makes it back and is visited by the Doctor, with his own life difficulties, is healed by the Alps and Heidi's care. Finally Klara comes and A beautiful and heart touching story of Heidi and her early life on the Alm. Her Aunt leaves her with Alm-Uncle her Grandfather in a small hut of little means. She is so attached to the Alp life that when she is taken away by her Aunt to Frankfort, even her best efforts to be with Klara does not stop her from longing for her life back home. Eventually she makes it back and is visited by the Doctor, with his own life difficulties, is healed by the Alps and Heidi's care. Finally Klara comes and finds the same healing powers from the beautiful country and loving care given to her by Grandfather. He has changed himself from the visitors, a much softer side. When Klara starts to walk everyone is happy, except Peter, who all along has been jealous of all the visitors and their time with Heidi. He has done something horrible as revenge for taking up Heidi's time away from him. In the end the Alm has reached the souls of all who partake in the healing gift the Alps has to offer. Life has been very healing for everyone with Heidi being the main reason, with her loving and caring ways. It would seem that writing stories helped Spyri to find her personal road out of the traditional, all too devotional way of accepting suffering as an unchangeable fate - a way that had been paved by her family. When Spyri was asked to write her autobiography, she refused with the words: "The external path of my life is quite simple, and there is nothing special to be mentioned. My inner life was full of storms, but who can describe it?"

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kiwi Begs2Differ ✎

    A children classic which made me want to take a trip to the Alps, drink fresh milk and eat toasted goat cheese. Extra star for nostalgia too :)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Chung

    Sigh.... how I love this book. I'm sure I've said it a million times. This is the first book I've ever purchased. I was in the 1st grade and I bought it for like 30 cents at my school library. I was already an avid reader teehee. Anyways, over the years I re-read the book and continued to enjoy it. I decided that this month during the AYearathon Readathon I would pick this book up again because the theme was childhood favorites. I am surprised how much I remembered from the book from when I had Sigh.... how I love this book. I'm sure I've said it a million times. This is the first book I've ever purchased. I was in the 1st grade and I bought it for like 30 cents at my school library. I was already an avid reader teehee. Anyways, over the years I re-read the book and continued to enjoy it. I decided that this month during the AYearathon Readathon I would pick this book up again because the theme was childhood favorites. I am surprised how much I remembered from the book from when I had last read it. That was over twenty years ago. What changed in my reading this time around was, instead of reading the book with the eyes of a child sympathizing with another child, I was reading it as a mother sympathizing with another parent figure. It is such a different take on the book having the experience as I do. Let me explain. Heidi's parents die when she is a toddler and she is then left in the care of her Aunt and Grandmother. They both don't have a choice and of course raise her, but it's more out of obligation than love. When Heidi is 5 and the Grandmother is no longer living, the Aunt who is rather self absorbed, decides to drop the little girl off at her paternal Grandfather's. There is no advanced notice. The Aunt just shows up one day to a chuffed and confused old man's house and announces this is your Grandchild and I'm leaving. As a parent myself I was outraged. How could you be so unloving. She demonstrates no love, she's more of a caretaker to a pet. I did my due's here you go. What I found wonderful is even though the Grandfather had not met his Granddaughter before, he was immediately taken by her inquisitive charm, her love for nature and the way she studied and learned by her own curiosity. She was loving and not spoiled and soon the Grandfather would have done anything for his Heidi. As a child I loved this book because it was a heart warming story with a happy ending. Heidi was a good girl and I could see myself in her. Although I lived on an island and she a mountain I had the same love and curiosity she did. As a mother I still see myself in Heidi. She is empathetic and selfless. She is kind and caring. It's funny because I never remember her teaching Peter to read and yet she does at the age of 9 or 10. I've always been a little "bossy" when I was growing up being the oldest of all the grandchildren and I was like their momma hen, helping the little ones read books or play games and Heidi does it so well. Now as an adult I still do that. I am a teacher and so I still am sharing characteristics with little Heidi. My final difference in adult reading this book is how much I felt for the Grandfather when Heidi was taken away. How hurt and angry he must have been. The town did nothing but gossip about the man. It's hard to know what goes on in people's own houses and people are so quick to judge small infractions in people's lives or things that people do when they are young. We all grow and mature (hopefully) and we learn the mistakes we've made in the past and do better in the future. This was Grandpa's way. He kept to himself because he knew the squawkers down in the village didn't like him, so good riddance. By the time he was raising Heidi they couldn't adjust their attitude or their ideas from past transgressions and believed him to be an awful Grandfather which he wasn't. When Heidi left it only verified their previous ideas. He was a terrible man and the girl was running away. This book made me shed happy tears many times. I found Heidi's encounters with all the people in her life to be so genuine and open. Grandfather, Grandmother, Peter, Grandmamma, the Good Doctor, Klara and even Mr. Sesemann took to Heidi immediately. They couldn't think of being away from her. She was a ray of sunshine and a sense of hope and love. They knew if Heidi was near anything was possible. This book has such good morals and all the hymns and prayers to God were not preachy, but truth. If you believe in a higher power, if you have faith and let go and allow things to happen, what you seek will eventually find you. Lovely lovely book. I own two copies of this book. My original from when I was 7, is a Watermill Classic and has a different translation than the one from the Puffin Bloom edition. The original I find better. The Swiss words are all there and it's not modernized in it's explanation. It's unabridged. The Puffin Bloom edition seems to be written in simpler words, it's more "modern". I found the name changes of the goats to be irksome for some reason. In the original Heidi's goats are little bear and little swan which I think are so sweet. It also matches their coat colors. In the Puffin edition they are Daisy and Dusky. WHY!?! They also change the Alm Uncle to Alp Uncle and Klara's name is spelled with a C instead. I don't know what or why things change in different translations, but I enjoyed the older version better. I will keep this edition because it is beautiful, but with any re-reads I'll dig up my coverless 1st grade edition. If you haven't picked up this children's classic, you must. It is a very fast read and such a moving story.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rian Henry

    I honestly enjoyed the movie more. The version that has Shirley Temple in it. If it would have been more like the movie, I probably would have went ahead and gave it a five-star rating.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dyuti

    This was one of those rare books which instilled in me the gift of imagination, and taught me how to dream... I believe it requires great skill to weave magic for generations, armed with nothing but a simple, heart touching plot and oodles of feel-good-factor! And Johanna Sypri is one such skilled author. The story flows thus: Heidi, an orphaned little girl, goes to live in the Alps with her grandfather. She is the personification of innocence and gaiety. Living on goat milk, and grazing the herds This was one of those rare books which instilled in me the gift of imagination, and taught me how to dream... I believe it requires great skill to weave magic for generations, armed with nothing but a simple, heart touching plot and oodles of feel-good-factor! And Johanna Sypri is one such skilled author. The story flows thus: Heidi, an orphaned little girl, goes to live in the Alps with her grandfather. She is the personification of innocence and gaiety. Living on goat milk, and grazing the herds with her friend Peter gives her life a sense of completion. However, tragedy soon falls when she is taken away to live in the city of Frankfurt and act as a companion to an older, richer invalid girl called Clara. Heidi loves Clara, but she is a bird which cannot be caged. She is the essence of the mountain air which flows through the valleys and touches all, but can not be tamed. Soon she grows tired of city live, and falls terribly sick... Does Heidi get better? Does she manage to return to her grandfather, and the mountains? If so, what happens to Clara? Even now, if I chance upon the book, although I know the story over and out, I cant stop feeling anxious to read it till the end... Johanna Spyri does not simply write the book, she paints scenes of sheer magnificence in each page... Memories I had got this book as a gift from my father, and though second hand, it was a hardbound imported edition, and in wonderful condition(not the tattered and torn variety). I remember feeling ecstatic, because I had already fallen in love with the animated series which used to come on TV. It soon became my favourite book. I took it everywhere... to the dinner table, to sleep, to school, and even if I had two minutes of spare time, I used to turn the pages over, feeling warm inside. It was an inexplicable happiness... the pages were of a hard, stiff, and superior quality, but they were yellowing, as the edition was quite old... It used to exude such a wonderful smell... I guess all those who love books truly will know what I am talking about... It is the most intoxicating smell in the entire world... The smell of old volumes... And inside the pages, I had a world of my own... I'm glad I have parents who are both voracious readers, so that i grew up treating books as my best friends... But I also needed books like these to make me fall in love with the art of story-telling!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tukunjil Nayeera

    And they lived happily ever after. Because life was supposed to be like this. Simple and cozy, surrounded by people we love and care for, into nature! It should be more than just surviving, with the sea, mountains, sky, and woods. Yes, I loved Heidi, who had the purest mind in the world! Dear Johanna Spyri, Take a bow! You just won my heart. It's been a long time I've read a book this much fresh and heartwarming. When Heidi was sent away to Frankfurt, away from her Grandfather and Grandmother, away And they lived happily ever after. Because life was supposed to be like this. Simple and cozy, surrounded by people we love and care for, into nature! It should be more than just surviving, with the sea, mountains, sky, and woods. Yes, I loved Heidi, who had the purest mind in the world! Dear Johanna Spyri, Take a bow! You just won my heart. It's been a long time I've read a book this much fresh and heartwarming. When Heidi was sent away to Frankfurt, away from her Grandfather and Grandmother, away from he dearest animal friends, to live with Clara, in a closed window house, I felt really sorry for her. She was like a wild bird who was being caged and flying became forbidden for her. I literally could feel her pain. Then again, I could feel her joy when she was placed in her Kingdom where she truly belonged! The ending of this story is just aww! I could read this book again and again without boring myself.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bhavik (Semi Hiatus)

    OH God! I fortunately have this book , a 1963-64 version of this ,now crinkly and all yellowed. Apparently 53 yrs old can you believe it? I treasure it like anything. Somebody tell me how can I preserve this one for the next 30 years atleast? I gave it to my stupid friend to read and stupid gal kinda just tore it. Basically broke my heart.She's lucky she's still alive after this >:( As for the book : Words aren't enough for this classic. Associated with the childhood and nostalgic af. I have reread it OH God! I fortunately have this book , a 1963-64 version of this ,now crinkly and all yellowed. Apparently 53 yrs old can you believe it? I treasure it like anything. Somebody tell me how can I preserve this one for the next 30 years atleast? I gave it to my stupid friend to read and stupid gal kinda just tore it. Basically broke my heart.She's lucky she's still alive after this >:( As for the book : Words aren't enough for this classic. Associated with the childhood and nostalgic af. I have reread it like 5 times now. Every time this boook just makes me go through various emotions. Heidi is just :')

  28. 5 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy there mateys! While recently sailing on the Norwegian Sea with me maman, we had a very nice dinner wherein we discussed favourite books from both of our childhoods. It was a delightful foray into me memories of all the books that me mom read to me when I was young and the lovely purchases she let me make at the local bookstore after every birthday or good report card. One of her beloved books from childhood was Heidi. She read it to me when I was little and I adored it too. In fact it was Ahoy there mateys! While recently sailing on the Norwegian Sea with me maman, we had a very nice dinner wherein we discussed favourite books from both of our childhoods. It was a delightful foray into me memories of all the books that me mom read to me when I was young and the lovely purchases she let me make at the local bookstore after every birthday or good report card. One of her beloved books from childhood was Heidi. She read it to me when I was little and I adored it too. In fact it was part of the inspiration for her wanting to visit Switzerland which was another trip we took together back when I was in college. Later on the flight to head home, I was surprised to find out that 1) not only did the plane’s entertainment include audiobooks but 2) Heidi was one of the offerings. Sadly the photos concerning the audiobooks offered on the plane were eaten by the phone. But I was excited to revisit an old favourite especially after that conversation of nostalgia. That audiobook only ran about 25 minutes at normal speed. I was startled by what I did remember and was confused by what I believed was left out of the version I listened to. So in no real order, here are some of me thoughts: - I still love the idea that Heidi helps enrich her Grandfather’s life and make him less of a curmudgeon; - I love the idea of Heidi scampering through Alpine meadows with the goats; - I adore Clara and Heidi’s friendship; - I was still sad at how much Heidi hated living in Frankfurt; - Peter destroying Clara’s chair was evil; - I very much enjoyed the audiobook narrator; - I couldn’t remember how much was missing but it seemed like a ton; and - All religion had been removed from this version. The original books were in German and written in 1881 and Goodreads lists over 1,100 editions and yet I could not find a photo of the cover of the version I had as a child. I remember that it was a glossy hardcover with a blue spine that was disintegrating. There were wonderful illustrations that I loved to look at. I have no idea how long it was but assume the story was truncated due to the drawings. I also remember loving a black and white film version of the story too. So after listening to the super short version of Heidi, I thought I would check out the unabridged version and see what I missed. I know it was a lot because the unabriged audiobook clocks in at 2 hours and 34 minutes according to Amazon. That is quite a difference! So I headed over to Project Gutenberg and checked out a 1916 translation. And it was both better and slightly sillier than I imagined. Some thoughts: - I continue to adore Heidi and her good-natured cheer; - I loved Grandfather’s transformation in the longer version as it seemed more natural; - I think the staff in Frankfurt were silly in how they thought about the ghost and their actions overall; - Fräulein Rottenmeier was a hateful jerk; - I can’t believe that Peter gets rewarded at the end because he is a little jerk too; - The version I read as a child had more parts of the story in it than the audiobook did; - I didn’t mind the Christian themes in the original; - The feel-good story of Clara walking was sweet; - They left both Grandmothers out of the audiobook but the story is better with them in it; and - I still love the goats! Basically reading the unabridged version made me happy and I am glad to have revisited it. After reading this book, it put me very much in mind of other childhood favourites I read where the themes involve sick children getting well again. Others I can think of include the lame little prince, pollyanna, and the secret garden. Arrrr! Check out me other reviews at https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    THE SUNDAY FAMILY READ Heidi was one of my most read books as a child. I think our family owned it so I could just pick it up and read it whenever I wanted to. I remember being entranced by the fact that Heidi's aunt made her wear ALL her clothes so there would be nothing to carry on the journey to Grandfather. It was a hot spring day when Heidi made that first climb up the mountain to her grandfather's cabin. I felt sorry for her being so over-dressed but I knew right away that the aunt was a THE SUNDAY FAMILY READ Heidi was one of my most read books as a child. I think our family owned it so I could just pick it up and read it whenever I wanted to. I remember being entranced by the fact that Heidi's aunt made her wear ALL her clothes so there would be nothing to carry on the journey to Grandfather. It was a hot spring day when Heidi made that first climb up the mountain to her grandfather's cabin. I felt sorry for her being so over-dressed but I knew right away that the aunt was a "bad person." As soon as they got to Grandfather, even though he was thought of as a "bad person," I could tell he was good. It only made the aunt more bad for leaving her niece with someone considered to be dangerous. There you have the wonder of Johanna Spyri's writing. She didn't come right out and say who was bad, good, or otherwise but showed these qualities by her storytelling. Her heavy religious message did not bother me as a child because it fit right in with what I had been taught. It didn't bother me during this rereading either, even when Clara's grandmother was clearly preaching Christian theology, because it is done with so much love and understanding while doing no one any harm. I did notice that the first half of the book is more interesting and exciting while the second half has more lessons, as it were, and gets a bit serious. It turns out that Ms Spyri wrote two books: Heidi's Years of Learning and Travel, then Heidi Make Use of What She Has Learned, later combined into one. Those titles hint at the shift in emphasis. I did always like the first half the most, but remember being so happy when everything turned out well for Heidi, Peter, Clara and all the grandparents. In any case, I loved it just as much as ever, I cried a few times, and was overjoyed to spend time with someone whom I once considered a friend.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tamra

    I never read this book as a kid. It sounded too girly. But it's a classic, so gave it a shot. It's a slower read, for normal juvenile lit--owing to the fact, I'm sure, that it was written more than 100 years ago. Compared to other things I've read from the same time period, the book is a page turner! And it's a page turner compared to most of the adult fare I read, too. But it's not a lightweight book in terms of wordiness, length, and descriptions. It does have a good dose of religion, but Spyri I never read this book as a kid. It sounded too girly. But it's a classic, so gave it a shot. It's a slower read, for normal juvenile lit--owing to the fact, I'm sure, that it was written more than 100 years ago. Compared to other things I've read from the same time period, the book is a page turner! And it's a page turner compared to most of the adult fare I read, too. But it's not a lightweight book in terms of wordiness, length, and descriptions. It does have a good dose of religion, but Spyri manages to not make it preachy-sounding. Clearly the book is written with a lesson for children, but it's also a fun story and the setting is breathtaking. Truly, I want to live in the cabin on the mountaintop! This is a Pollyanna story, and I dislike Pollyanna stories. Everything turns out perfectly for everyone, and Heidi never thinks about anything, she's just adorable. Heidi is like a drug that everyone is addicted to and can't get enough of. I imagined, in my head, a sequel that put Heidi, 5 or 10 years later, weighed down by the burden of having 7 people need her and not being able to meet everyone's needs. Get a life, people! There's only one Heidi Sunshine Ball! Having said all that, I also adore Heidi. Matter of fact, I'm addicted to my own real life Heidi: my youngest son. He brings happiness and sunshine where ever he goes. If I hadn't met my son, I wouldn't have thought it possible: no one is as happy and cheerful and life-giving as Heidi. But he is. And it's a beautiful thing. *update: I liked this book enough, I bought it.

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