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Merle

Merle

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Heidi - Johanna Spyri

A saccharine, yet strangely readable, children's book about a little Swiss girl who transforms the lives of nearly everyone she meets. I'd read this one as a kid but remembered too little to count it for my world books challenge without a re-read. The beauty of the mountain and Heidi's love for it are vividly depicted. Spyri doesn't talk down to her child readers, and I wouldn't have guessed this to be a translation without being told (though there are some ways of writing that passed in the 19th century but wouldn't today: "'That would be all very well if he were like other people,' asseverated stout Barbel warmly"). It continues to surprise me that so many favorite children's books are so old, and yet children have no trouble with them, while adult classics are more difficult and less widely read. This one is probably best enjoyed by readers of an age to readily identify with Heidi, but despite some idealization and religious messaging it was a pleasant enough read as an adult too.