Da-da-da-da! In case you didn’t know, that was a trumpet blowing, and we need some major trumpet blowing to announce our September book reads. (Yes, I accidentally told you what we were reading in yesterday’s post, but pretend you don’t remember.)
So! Are you ready? Drum roll please! Our September books are Heidi for our younger children and A Wrinkle in Time for the older boys.
Did we not choose awesome books? We chose Heidi because we are going to the Alps this month, and we chose A Wrinkle in Time because Davy LOVES science fiction.
But today I want to talk about Heidi. We decided to read the full length version, and that might have been a little ambitious. I will warn you that the first chapter is a little tedious and doesn’t seem to be written at all for children. I probably would have given up on it entirely if we hadn’t started reading the book on a long road trip where there wasn’t really anything else to do. And Deborah, bless her heart, insisted that I keep reading it to her, even though I don’t think she understood much. The characters are introduced awkwardly and the grandfather is referred to as both alm-uncle and grandfather which was confusing. I finally just substituted alm-uncle for grandfather so my children could keep it all straight.
By the second chapter, Johanna Spyri finally seems to remember who her audience is, and the book becomes easier to follow. However, the book is slow going. We are in the middle of chapter 3, and so far Heidi has walked up the mountain, met her grandfather, eaten dinner, gone to bed, and helped Peter watch his goats. So this is not a very high action story.
That being said, it is still absolutely lovely. Johanna is so comprehensive in her descriptions that we really do feel like we are on that mountain with Heidi. Last night we went over to the computer and found pictures of blue bells and golden rock-roses. We also looked up the robber-bird only to find that it’s not nearly as threatening as Spyri made it out to be.
Spyri describes everything so vividly–the blue skies, the sun shining over the valley, the “bald, jagged cliffs,” the large patches of unmelted snow, the wild flowers dotting the pastures, wind that blows the clouds away, the fir trees and bushes that you do feel like you truly are up in the Alps with Heidi. It’s like a cheap and brief vacation.
Johanna has probably been Switzerland’s most effective travel agent even she didn’t directly book all the tourists herself. I hope they are paying her a commission.
How to help your children enjoy Heidi.
Have you read Heidi? What did you like about it?
Have you ever been to Switzerland? Tell me more, tell me more!