I recently re-read the classic Heidi by Johanna Spyri. This children’s book was written in 1880 and translated into English I don’t know when. Heidi was the first book I remember reading more than once. And I don’t remember having a problem with difficult words in the text when I was ten years old. I must have picked up the meanings from context clues.
The book is over three hundred pages, considered excessive in today’s literary climate. Those in the know about children’s reading abilities maintain that such a long story cannot hold a child’s interest to the end. J.K. Rowling proved them wrong.
In addition to “above grade level” words, Johanna Spyri breaks other “rules” of today’s writing. Long sentences, long paragraphs, long chapters. Yet, as the several times before when I enjoyed this story, I couldn’t seem to put the book down, even though I knew the outcome.
Shirley Temple immortalized the little Swiss girl, Heidi, on screen many years ago. Through the magic of remastering and cable networks, children of today can experience this old movie. I only hope this might then inspire some to search out and read this wonderful book.