Wednesday, 11 April 2012


Date of Reading: 11/11/2006
Author: Johanna Spyri
Illustrations: Raymond Sheppard
Publisher: Blackie & Son Ltd
Place: London
Year: 1881(in German)

          Heidi is a little girl of five. She is parent less and her aunt Dette has brought her up till that age. Now she is handed over to her grand father, Alm uncle. He has the reputation of a rude person but her life with him was joyful on the mountain near the village of Dorfli. Her best friend is Peter, a shepherd boy.
         One day Dette comes back and brings her back forcefully to Frankfurt; she was eight then. Heidi is appointed as a companion to the invalid child, Clara in Herr Sessmann's house. There were no beautiful sights in that town and that made her unhappy; the only consolation was Clara's grand mother who taught her to pray and read.
          Herr Sessmann has a doctor friend and he finds out that Heidi is  sleep walking due to homesickness. So at his insistence she is sent back home and her happy days returns. Grand father sends her to school on winter and they begin to go to church too.
          On that spring doctor visits their place and is enchanted by it. Next spring brings Clara and her grandma too and they stay at her hut. Peter gets jealous of Clara's friendship with Heidi and he destroys Clara's couch out of spite. This compels Clara to try walking a bit and she succeeds. Peter's crime is found out but he is forgiven as he indirectly causes the cure. Grandma promises that she will allow Peter a penny every week in her will. Herr Sessmann also gives a promise to Alm uncle that he will take after Heidi after his death.
         Doctor makes the place as his permanent residence and he and Alm uncle become great friends. He considers Heidi as his own daughter.

Rating: Excellent

         Book brings us back to the warm feeling of childhood (not in the Eastern sense of the word 'warm'; here in India this is the peak of summer and if it gets any 'warmer', I will go mad!). If you had spent ur days as a kid in a village full of green, mixed with waterfalls, little streams and tasty food (made by ur grandma) which you have lost as a part of growing up (just like me), you would love this travel back to illusion.
        Heidi is the perfect model for the perfect children's literature; all ingredients are there as it should be:
--- a protagonist who has no streaks of evil (as its a girl, this is super perfect)
--- everyone is good and helpful and if someone does something wrong, in time it turns out to be for good.
--- glorification of village life, stressing on its curing nature (a Romantic element, following Wordsworth in prose).
         In a sense, we as humans need some of these illusions to move forward. As a soldier dreams of home, everyone has a secret desire to reach the land of peace. Literature just helps us to keep it unwithered.  


  1. I love your reviews and noticed this one credits Sheppard with the illustrations, but surely that's wrong the illos look to be by someone completely different - have a look at my copy: Heidi

    1. I do apologize for the misunderstanding caused by the illustrations. Images used here in the blog are not from the original book I have read; even the cover page is different. The book I had was an old copy from my college library and I have provided the publishing details accordingly. Please don't take the images provided in the blog as authentic, they are added to increase the reading pleasure and may not be related to the images inside the book.


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