Retold by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Briony May Smith
Jeanne Willis retells the Johanna Spyri classic tale for a slightly younger audience than the original book. I remember totally loving the story of the orphan Heidi as a child and was fascinated to learn of this new version.
It’s a beautiful gift edition in Nosy Crow’s Classics series and both author and illustrator have done a cracking job making the story more accessible while retaining the spirit of the original.
When her Aunt Dete takes her to live with her grandfather, the spirited Heidi quickly makes friends with Peter the goat boy, and soon softens her Grandpa’s heart – Grandpa Alps as he’s known by the villagers.
She spends a happy two years in his mountain home; but then comes the devastating news. Heidi is to go to Frankfurt to act as companion to little Clara, the sickly daughter of a rich man there. So says her aunt Dete who turns up one day and whisks her away insisting it’s “the chance of a lifetime.”
Miss Rottenmeier is a veritable dragon of a woman and Heidi finds it hard living so far from her beloved mountain home, despite getting on well with Clara,
so much so that she starts sleepwalking.
After a while the doctor suggests that the only cure for her is to let her return to her Grandpa. But what will happen to her new friend, Clara; will they ever meet again?
If you’re looking for a book for a developing reader and want to introduce them to the delights of Heidi, Jeanne Willis’ splendid telling really brings the characters to life and Bryony’s finely detailed illustrations are absolutely gorgeous.