Heidi is just about my most favorite book from childhood. But I can’t say for sure why it became my favorite.
Maybe it was because she lost her family, and then found family again with her Grandfather and his friends in the mountains.
Perhaps it was my Swiss heritage calling out to the small portion of Swiss genes I possess, although I knew that not at the time!
But mostly it may have been the vision of Heidi sleeping in Grandfather’s little cabin loft on “fresh and fragrant hay” with the sounds of the wind in the pine trees she saw through her tiny round window.
Ever since I read her story (and read and reread many times as a child), I’ve been enchanted by pine trees and the wonderful sound the wind makes as it blows through their branches. No matter where I am, no matter what I’m doing, if I walk by a pine tree, I always stop to hear what the wind is saying. And I think of Heidi dozing off while watching the sky full of stars overhead, and the wind tickling the pine needles on their branches.
Gutenberg has two English versions of Heidi. As most are aware, it was originally written in German. Three German editions are available on their website, as well as an audio version. I’m not sure if the audio is English or German! The version of Heidi I downloaded to my tablet is called a Gift Edition. It has delightful color illustrations.
Here are three of 14 illustrations in the book. The illustrator was Maria L. Kirk. Heidi looks pretty much as I envisioned her as a child.
There is also another English edition recently uploaded on July 25, 2014. Some illustrations are black and white drawings, and some are colored.
Here’s what Wikipedia says about the author. Johanna Spyri; (12 June 1827 – 7 July 1901) was a Swiss-born author of children’s stories, and is best known for her book Heidi. Born Johanna Louise Heusser in the rural area of Hirzel, Switzerland, as a child she spent several summers in the area around Chur in Graubünden, the setting she later would use in her novels.1
If you didn’t read Heidi as a child, you missed a great book. It’s not too late: read it to your children or grandchildren. Chances are, they may have seen a movie or anime about her.
1Wikipedia. “Johanna Spyri.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 11 Apr. 2011. Web. 28 Aug. 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johanna_Spyri.