What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this classic story is beautifully written, but not to every modern child's taste.
What's the story?
Orphaned Heidi is taken to live with her grandfather, a grumpy hermit. But the bond of love that grows between them is disrupted when Heidi is taken to live in the city as a companion to an invalid girl. This classic story has lost none of its joy and power, but its slow pace and old-fashioned ethos is not for everyone.
Is it any good?
Many wonderful books have been done in by bad movie versions, and Shirley Temple did a lot to give HEIDI a bad name. But there's a reason this book has stayed in print for well over a century. Heidi's life on the mountain is vivid and joyous, told with such resonance that children who have the temperament and experience to be able to listen to a story of this length and pacing dream of living in the Alps themselves.
Her misery in the city, the middle third of the book, is vivid as well, and readers long with Heidi to get back to the healthy, sun-filled mountains. The final portion, with the healing of Clara, is, despite its predictability, exciting and moving. The rock-solid values the author espouses may seem simple and old-fashioned today, but you may find yourself longing for them again -- and immersing your child in them can only be healthy. This theme of the healing power of nature and optimism was a favorite in an earlier age.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about learning from experience. What does Heidi learn when she first goes up the mountain? How does she respond to the city, and how is she different when she returns to the mountains?