The best-selling author of the Alice and Megan and Eva series chooses a book that still entrances.
I wish I’d written pretty much any book that entranced me during my childhood, but the clear favorite is Heidi.
Little Heidi finds herself in what could be a terrible situation when she is brought to live with her grumpy old grandfather – ‘with his bushy eyebrows and terrible beard he looks like a positive savage.’ Very quickly though, as they make Heidi a bed of hay in the attic, the two charm each other and Heidi begins to enjoy her new life. The sense of place is what sets this book apart. The descriptions are stunning, as Heidi and her new friend Peter tend the goats, and enjoy summer in the Alps. When I read about Heidi leaving her beloved grandfather and moving to Frankfurt, I could feel her pain, even though my life in a housing estate in Cork was worlds away from the meadows of Switzerland. When I finally made it to the Swiss Alps, many years later, I found myself listening for the sound of Peter’s goats, and felt disappointed and cheated that Heidi wasn’t there.
Heidi (978-0-0995-7374-6) by Johanna Spyri is published by Vintage Children’s Classics, £5.99
Judi Curtin’s new book, Time after Time (978-1847178725) is published by the O’Brien Press, £9.99 pbk.