post written by Emma Filbrun
Author: Johanna Spyri
Major Themes: Switzerland
Synopsis: When a little girl is taken from her beloved grandfather and their mountain home, can God possibly bring good out of her sadness and homesickness?
I had forgotten how great a story Heidi is! I hadn’t read it for many years, not since my oldest, who is now nearly 20, was in first grade and I read it aloud to her. Last month, my littlest, who is three, wanted me to read her a story. She likes to be like the big children, so she went to the shelf to pick out a chapter book. The one she happened to pull off the shelf that day was Heidi. I knew it would be too much for her, but to humor her I read the first chapter. Sure enough, she was ready to go play long before I finished—but her brothers loved the story! When it was the turn of one of them to choose a new read-aloud a few days later, he wanted me to read this one. They loved it all the way through—and the 20-year-old who heard it read many years ago? She wanted to listen in, as well! This is truly a story for all ages.
The story begins with a fashionably dressed young lady dragging a little girl up a Swiss mountain to hand her over to her grandfather. The grandfather, known in the village below as the grouchy old Alm-Uncle, rather unwillingly took in the little orphan, but was quickly won over by her happy disposition and her love of all things on the mountain. And Heidi, on her part, was immediately in love with the Alm-Uncle’s hut, his two goats, and the goatherd who took the village’s goats to pasture up the mountain every day. For a couple of years, they lived happily—until Heidi’s aunt returned and dragged the little girl away to Frankfort.
Heidi’s new role in life was to be a companion to a sick little girl a few years older than herself in the city. She could hardly handle living there away from her beloved mountains, however, and got so sick she nearly died. Her return to her grandfather ended being the best thing possible for her friend Klara.
This is such a sweet story! The descriptions of life in the Swiss Alps are idyllic. Heidi is such a sweet little girl that she is almost unbelievable, but you don’t tend to think about that as you read. One thing I had totally forgotten about is the faith element in this book. The grandmamma in Frankfort introduced Heidi to the Lord by giving her a Bible storybook with pictures of sheep and goats on a mountain—something the homesick little girl could relate to. One theme that runs through the story is that of prayer, with the lesson being that if God delays giving the answer we want He probably has a good reason for the delay. As Heidi explained to the doctor one day, “All at once it will be quite plain how God had something good in his thoughts all the time, though we did not know it.”
Heidi is a book to read aloud to every child. I love this story!
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15
Links to buy Heidi:
AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com