By Author / Illustrator

Jeanne Willis, Briony May Smith



Age range(s)



Nosy Crow Ltd








When five-year-old orphan Heidi is sent to live in the Swiss Alps with grumpy Grandpa, the rest of the village take pity on her. But Heidi soon discovers that her grandpa is gentle and kind behind his scowl, and she loves her new life running wild in the mountains with the goats, the flowers and her best friend Peter. That is, until Heidi is forced to move far away to the soot and smoke of Frankfurt to be the companion to an unwell girl. Will she ever return to her true home in the mountains?



A beautiful retelling of the sweetest classic tale. Jeanne Willis has so fantastically retold the tale of a young orphan named Heidi, who is taken to live with her grumpy grandpa in the Swiss Alps. Heidi's grandpa was used to living alone and quite stubborn in his ways, he doesn't much like people and the villagers of Dorfli are not too fond of him either. His gruffness had earned him a reputation with the neighbours, so much so, that they took pity on young Heidi being forced to live with this grumpy old man. Heidi, on the other hand, sees none of this in grandpa, her sweet-hearted nature and zest for life bring happiness into a home that was once dull and lifeless, she sees through grandpa's scowl and manages to melt his heart in the most beautiful way. Heidi is loving life, roaming free in the mountains with the goats and her new found friend Peter, but then comes devasting news. Heidi is to move to the town of Frankfurt to be the companion of an unwell little girl called Clara. Heidi's world is turned upside down, her heart broken. She loves Clara and wishes she could help heal her but she longs for the mountains, the meadows and the fresh air. The full-colour illustrations in this book are exquisite, bringing the story to life on every page. As you turn each page, each illustration is just as beautiful and emotive as the last, they seem to burst out of the page bold and bright. Reading this book aloud brought both myself and my daughter of eight to tears, if you're looking for a book to develop a young reader's empathy and / or emotional intelligence, then this is a fantastic story to share. It is full of warmth, charm and entirely uplifting. Willis has cleverly made the text accessible for young readers and, with the accompaniment of Briony May's illustrations, has been able to keep the spirit of the original alive. Definitely one to share in lower key stage 2 or across the whole school as an assembly text, purely as I wouldn't want anyone not to have the opportunity to hear this delightful tale; one that will capture the imagination of anyone who has ever longed to run free. 96 pages / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Nikki Stiles, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 7+


Other titles