I am delighted to share my thoughts on a retelling of one of my childhood favoutires – Heidi by Johanna Spyri. This version is retold by Jeanne Willis and Illustrated by Briony May Smith.
When five-year-old orphan Heidi is sent to live in the Swiss Alps with grumpy Grandpa, the rest of the village take pity on her. But Heidi soon discovers that her grandpa is gentle and kind behind his scowl, and she loves her new life running wild in the mountains with the goats, the flowers and her best friend Peter. That is, until Heidi is forced to move far away to the soot and smoke of Frankfurt to be the companion to an unwell girl. Will she ever return to her true home in the mountains?
I absolutely adore the story of Heidi by Johanna Spyri, I still have my own childhood copy. I admit I was a little apprehensive about reading this retelling of a childhood favourite.
The book itself is gorgeous and the dust cover illustrations are just a taste of the pictures inside. I removed the dust jacket to find gorgeous embossed pink hardcover that matches the pink detailing on the outer cover and there is also a ribbon book mark attached. The photo really doesn’t do the cover justice. And in case you are wondering, yes they are my fluffy pink PJ’s 😁❤
The illustrator Briony May Smith has done such a wonderful job and there are so many details in each picture that represent each page of the story.
Now the story itself has been retold by Jeanne Willis. It is a simplified version of the classic story of Heidi. A young girl who is taken to the Swiss Alps to live with her grumbly and rather moody Grandfather. Heidi meets Peter the goat-herder and they become friends. Grandfather gradually softens to Heidi and when the day comes that Heidi is to leave, everyone is sad. Heidi is to become a companion t a sick child, Clara and moves to Frankfurt.
The story is one that brought back many memories for me, not only from the full version book I read as a child but also the TV series. Even though the story has been shortened and is a simplified version of the original, it still holds the magic. It is a story that has a heart, is about friendships and family as well as the challenges of life.
I love the way this book has been presented and the way the story retains some of the essences of the original one. This is a book that would suit being read to a child and also for a child to read to themselves. The illustrations complement the story and the story is enchanting. A fabulous book that I would definitely recommend.
If you are on the look out for a fabulous fiction read for children then you really can’t go wrong with this one it would make a lovely Christmas stocking filler. I know I would have loved this book as a younger reader, in fact I love that I have this copy as an adult reader!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx