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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Heidi: Lessons at Home and Abroad
by Johanna Spyri
Age Range: 9-11
Orphaned at an early age, Heidi has been brought up by her Aunt Dete in Switzerland. When aunt Dete is offered a job in Frankfurt five-year-old Heidi is taken to live with her reclusive and curmudgeonly grandfather known as ‘Uncle Alp’ in his lonely hut high in the Swiss Alps. She quickly learns to love her new life with him, spending the summer days roaming the mountain slopes with Peter the goatherd and in winter visiting Peter’s blind grandmother.
After three happy years Dete returns to remove Heidi from her grandfather’s care and takes her to live in Frankfurt with the Sesemann family. Heidi becomes desperately homesick and hates living in a town. Her country ways and her ignorance of etiquette and city life reduces the household to total chaos although she does befriend Clara the invalid daughter of Mr Sesemann. Eventually, Clara’s father arranges for Heidi to return home to her grandfather. Clara goes to stay with them in the mountains and with Heidi and Peter’s help, she begins to recover her strength and get well again.
This timeless classic of Swiss literature by German writer Johanna Spyri (1827-1901) is presented in a brand-new, unabridged version from Alma Classics translated by Peter James Bowman, with charming illustrations by Susan Hellard.
This new edition also contains extra material for young readers including a profile of the author, a section on the book, a list of characters and a test-yourself quiz.