Heidi (pronounced [ˈhaɪdi]) is a Swiss work of fiction, originally published in two parts as Heidi's years of learning and travel (German: Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre) and Heidi makes use of what she has learned. (German: Heidi kann brauchen, was es gelernt hat) It is a novel about the events in the life of a young girl in her grandfather's care, in the Swiss Alps. It was written as a book "for children and those who love children" (as quoted from its subtitle) in 1880 by Swiss author Johanna Spyri.
This truncated retelling of orphan Heidi's simple life in the Swiss Alps and her sojourn in the big city seems almost as indebted to the Shirley Temple film as to Johanna Spyri's 1880 novel. Krupinski's (A New England Scrapbook) heroine mimics Temple, curls, button nose and all, though she lacks the actress's expressive smile and gestures. Similarly blank-faced characters contrast with Krupinski's serene, lushly idealized landscape paintings: the people seem like wax dolls, but the glowing blankets of flowers make the Alps heaven on earth. The text emphasizes the sensual joys of fresh goat's milk, fir trees "with their piney scent," Heidi's sweet-smelling bed in her grandfather's hay loft, etc., but that is its only demonstrable strength. Both Heidi's relationship with her grandfather and the idealized subplot about wheelchair-bound Klara's learning to walk are woodenly described; little space is given to dialogue and even less to Heidi's emotions. The plot, too, is severely condensed: "Many more good things happened after that day." The book succeeds as a portrayal of the joys of mountain life, but otherwise fails to do justice to Spyri's story of a girl's courage and persistence. Ages 5-9.