Heidi by Johanna Spyri

6410372Fiction — print. Translated from the German by Helen B. Dole. Grosset & Dunlap, 1927. Originally published 1880. 316 pgs. Gift.

Little orphan Adelheid — better known as Heidi — moves in with her reclusive grandfather at the age of five. Originally resenting Heidi’s arrival, this adorable little girl manages to pierce his hardened shell all the while falling in love with the Swiss landscape she roams with her best friend, Peter.

At the age of eight, Heidi is sent to Frankfurt to be the companion of twelve-year-old Klara, a invalid under control of her strict housekeeper, Fraulein Rottenmeier. Heidi desperately wants to return to her grandfather’s home and finds an outlet for her homesickness in her attempts to learn to read and write.

Another piece of classic children’s literature that I somehow managed to miss! Something about Heidi reminded me of Anne of Green Gables. Maybe it was the two characters mutual love of nature? Or maybe the combination of naivete and unfettering optimism in both characters? Either way, I kept thinking that Heidi and Anne could have been great friends had they not been distanced by time, geography, and fictional existence.

That’s not to say that I enjoyed Spyri’s novel as much as I did Montgomery’s. The story was much too dull for a children’s book and much too preachy for this young adult to enjoy. I never understood why I missed this book as kid but in retrospect I’m glad I did.

Note: The book cover at right is of the edition published by Western Publishing Company in 1955. I could not locate a copy of the cover for my own edition.


  1. I have never read Anne of Green Gables so I can’t compare, but I loved Heidi as a kid. Don’t know if I’ll still do now, though. It seems to have vanished in obscurity.


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