Johanna Spyri

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Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit 2013 – The Round-Up

Published January 6, 2014 by bibliobeth

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2013 is over, and so is our Kid-Lit challenge but I think I can speak for us both when I say we both really enjoyed it. Here are the twelve books we read with the links to my reviews! Please check out Chrissi’s blog HERE for her fabulous reviews.

JANUARY – Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

FEBRUARY – The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley

MARCH – The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

APRIL – Stig of the Dump by Clive King

MAY – Heidi by Johanna Spyri

JUNE – A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

JULY – Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

AUGUST – The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat

SEPTEMBER – A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

OCTOBER – Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

NOVEMBER – Northern Lights/The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

DECEMBER – The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

So, in the style of the “Talking About…” reviews we normally do, we thought we’d answer a quick few questions about our first year blogging in Kid-Lit.

1) What was your favourite Kid-Lit book of 2013 and why?
BETH: This is tough, there were quite a few that I really enjoyed. I think it would have to be A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, simply because I had forgotten how beautiful the story was.
CHRISSI: This is a tough question. I’m torn between two that I thoroughly enjoyed. They are The Railway Children and A Little Princess. I think I’d have to go for A Little Princess, because it just gave me such a lovely warm feeling when I read it. The writing is beautiful.
2) What was your least favourite Kid-Lit book of 2013 and why?
BETH: There were a couple that also fitted this category! Probably The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley as I found it quite odd, and was bitterly disappointed by the story in general.
CHRISSI: We seem to have similar answers Beth! Mine would be Children Of The New Forest though. I was disappointed with it. I really thought I’d enjoy it! The Water Babies was an odd read.
3) What was the Kid-Lit book that surprised you the most?
BETH: This has to be Northern Lights/The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. I loved the imagination behind this story, and some of his ideas (like having your own personal daemon) just blew me away. That reminds me, I must put the second book on my Coming Up list soon!
CHRISSI: I was surprised at how long Oliver Twist was. I think I’m so used to the film which condensed the book quite a bit.
4) Have you been inspired to read any other books from a Kid-Lit author of 2013?
BETH: I have! After The Little Princess, I decided to look into what else Frances Hodgson Burnett has written, as I know only of this book. I then went on a trip to Persephone Books in London, and found a copy of her novel The Making of A Marchioness, which I am looking forward to getting round to at some point!
CHRISSI: I want to read more of Frances Hodgson Burnett. Other than that I don’t think I’d read books from the same authors, besides Dickens, who I will hopefully read more of on the future. It has made me want to continue this challenge, and also think about other features around children’s literature!
Coming soon…. (Thursday to be exact) Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit – The Twelve Titles for 2014!

Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit – MAY READ – Heidi – Johanna Spyri

Published May 31, 2013 by bibliobeth

heidi

What’s it all about?:

What happens when a little orphan girl is forced to live with her cold and frightening grandfather? The heart-warming answer has engaged children for more than a century, both on the page and on the screen. Johanna Spyri’s beloved story offers youngsters an endearing and intelligent heroine, a cast of unique and memorable characters, and a fascinating portrait of a small Alpine village.

What did I think?:

This book was my choice for the monthly children’s classic challenge carried out by myself and my sister. I absolutely loved this book as a child, and was intrigued to see whether re-visiting it as an adult would alter any of my opinions. The story begins when our heroine Heidi is sent to live in the Swiss mountains with her grandfather who has built up a reputation for himself as being a bit of a reclusive and bad-tempered ogre.  Heidi is headstrong, full of energy, and finds beauty in everything she sees, quickly falling head over heels in love with her new surroundings and her surly grandfather who begins to adore her in return. She has no qualms about speaking her mind, and her innocent remarks and retorts made me smile on a few occasions.

Just when things are going swimmingly on the mountain, and Heidi has made firm friends with a young goatherd called Peter and his blind grandmother (who obviously both adore her, Heidi can do no wrong!), her Aunt takes her away to become a companion to a young invalid called Clara who lives in Frankfurt. She becomes dreadfully homesick for her mountain home, and is eventually sent back when her sadness becomes too much and she starts sleepwalking, giving the residents of the house a terrible fright, them supposing her to be a ghostly visitor. Her new friend Clara comes to visit her for a holiday and then a miracle occurs….

I was happy to realise that I still loved this book as an adult. Heidi is such an adorable character that you can’t help warming to, and the development of a relationship between her and the terrifying grandfather is still as heart-warming for me as it was 25 years ago. It was also wonderful to remember episodes that I had forgotten, such as when she decides to give a present of a number of kittens for her new friend Clara much to the anger of Frau Rottenmeier (aptly named), also the jealousy and consequences of Peter’s jealousy over Heidi’s new playmate – which actually turns out to be a beneficial thing in the end as it triggers the start of the “miracle.”

What I didn’t realise on re-reading this novel, was the key part that religion played in the story. As an agnostic, I don’t mind a bit of religion, and sometimes it can add interest to events, but at times it felt a bit preachy and unnecessary. Not that it spoiled my enjoyment at any level, and I still highly recommend it as a classic example of great children’s literature, but has slightly lowered my rating as a result.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0