Sweet Read

Heidi by Johanna Spyri (translated by Eileen Hall)
Grade: A-

Heidi is a wonderful story about a young girl who lives in the mountains with her grandfather and who brings cheer into the hearts of everyone she meets. It’s one of those saccharine stories, like Pollyanna, that ought to nauseate and somehow hits the spot instead.

One small problem with Heidi is that it’s a translation (German to English). With translations you never know if you’re going to get a good one or a bad one. The version I read was translated by Eileen Hall. It was enjoyable, but I wonder how other translations compare. Maybe there’s a better one?

A second small problem is that, if you are not a Christian, the emphasis on religion could be off-putting. It doesn’t bother me to read about characters with religious beliefs, but I do start to get irritated when a book gets preachy. Heidi teetered on the edge, getting close to preachy at times, but never becoming intolerable. Anyway, religion is par for the course in classic children’s literature. That’s just the way it is (or was).

All things considered, Heidi is a sweet read and I recommend it. If I am able to find more information about other English translations, I’ll append it to this post later.

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3 Responses to Sweet Read

  1. sprite says:

    An interesting note is that the two sequels to Heidi were written by the person usually cited as her original English translator, Charles Tritten. As with sequels during this time period, they’re adequate, but not nearly as good as the original, relying more heavily on moralizing than their inspiration.

  2. chick says:

    I don’t think I’ll go looking for the sequels. Heidi just doesn’t seem like the kind of book that ought to have them. Plus you totally scared me away with the word “moralizing.” 🙂

  3. Pingback: Repeats | Blue-Footed Musings

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