Author: Johanna Spyri, Gail Herman
Book summary: “Five-year-old Heidi, an orphan, has been sent to live with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. All of his neighbors fear him, but Heidi knows he is kind at heart, and the two learn to live happily together. Heidi loves her life, but soon her aunt takes her away and forces Heidi to work for strangers in town as a companion to their handicapped daughter, Clara. Will she ever make it back to her beloved mountain home?” from amazon.com.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
What this book did well:
“Heidi” does a great job of teaching children lessons about family and friends while not coming across as too preachy. The main character, Heidi, is a lovable child who shows rather than tells readers how to be a good person and a fun friend. Her relationships with the other characters throughout the book are memorable and serve the purpose of pushing the morals of the story along.
This book also shows subtly that being adopted is meant to be a good experience. Heidi’s interactions with her guardian, her grandfather, are a wonderful example of how adoption is meant to be healthy.
What could be improved:
There isn’t a main conflict throughout this story; rather, there are miniature conflicts that give messages to readers. Although this book is meant for young children, having a main conflict is a necessity when it comes to good storytelling. Otherwise, the story can be hard to follow and doesn’t have as much weight.
Another problem with this story is the way the story brushes over the death of Heidi’s parents and how she came to be adopted. Heidi didn’t seem to be affected by her parents’ deaths, which can be hard for children to understand when they are going through something similar. The process of adoption didn’t get explained very much, either. More details about this aspect of the story would’ve made the story more enjoyable and realistic.
To learn more about the adoption process and how someone can be adopted by relatives, visit the Adoption Choices website.
Who should read this book:
“Heidi” should be read by and with young children, as it was written for this age group. The morals throughout this story are great for kids trying to understand the world around them. While the characters don’t develop as much as they could’ve, they are interesting enough to hold a child’s attention as they go through this book.
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