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Heidi, by Johanna Spyri (Author),translated by Helen B. Dole Paperback – April 2, 2016
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The cover illustration is done by Anna Bond who may be better known for her lovely stationery collection, Rifle Paper Co. The cover is a vibrant yellow-green with the title in gold embossing over a floral-framed mountain scene. The back cover features a pull-out quote – "Heidi looked around with growing delight at the mountain peaks she knew so well and which seemed to greet her like old friends."
The interior illustrations, taken from the 1956 edition of Heidi also published by Puffin, are charmingly vintage. There appears to be one illustration per chapter. The book is typeset in Minion and just the right size to be accessible to both children and adults.
This edition also includes end notes with a profile of Johanna Spyri, information about Switzerland, and brief character and reading guides.
This would make a special addition to any growing library.
I never read Heidi as a child because the young girl's homesickness after being removed from the place she loved was a subject I found too painful to read about, and I had never come back to it as an adult. But this shortened version with the spectacular cover got my attention. In most abridged books, the descriptions and the atmosphere are the first to go, and that's true here. You don't have the sense of being in the alpine meadows, which I judge from other reviews is one of the strong points of the original book. Heidi's longing to be back in the mountains with her grandfather is mentioned--we know she cried herself to sleep every night--but the author doesn't dwell on it. Even though it's an important part of the story, I have to say I'm glad she didn't. Other reviewers have indicated that religion plays an important part in the original text, but it doesn't here. People go to church and the pastor is a minor character, but religious themes are absent, and that would seem to be a loss. The book is short--236 pages, half of which are pictures--and the story is told simply for young readers. Those who want more can always go back to a longer version, as I may do at some point. But this is at least a good introduction. As an older adult, I found it enjoyable and I'm glad I read it.