Heidi Part I is a digital retelling of the classic Heidi story. In the first app, one of three (all now available through iTunes), Heidi is brought at the age of six to stay with her reclusive grandfather high in the Alps. She lives with him long enough to soften the old man, becoming quite close to him and Peter, the goat-herd. At the end of this book, we are left wondering, "What will happen to Heidi now that her aunt has come back to get her?"
As a digital book, this title is very solidly made, with easy 'swipe' style page turning, nice sound-quality and simple settings for reading with or without narration. There is, however, no way to navigate within the pages of the book. The book also features sound effects and dialogue from the characters when tapped, making the story more engaging, especially for struggling readers.
The version of Heidi in this retelling is on the surface rather dry sounding. It has been greatly abridged to sentences that describe the simple plot of the original Spyri story. I did miss the creative flourishes and charm of the original, but the reading level is perfect for older readers who may still struggle with more complex sentence structure.
There is really no getting around my only real complaint with this book ... it isn't the whole story. Despite the significant abridgement of the original source, this book is being released as three separate apps, with parts 2 & 3 finally available in the app store as of Sept. 2, 2011. I would rather have the whole story all in one app on my device. I also wouldn't expect a youngster to be patient enough to wait for a 'sequel' of a book available in complete form in the public domain.
Overall, this is a nicely made app with a simplified story for struggling, older readers. It has charming narration and lovely illustrations by Diana Kizlauskas. The interactive elements do a nice job reinforcing the storyline, including engaging dialogue between the characters that restores some of the charm of the original novel to the otherwise simple sentences.
Note: Now all 3 apps are now available in 1 app. See other versions tab (above) for more information.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Johanna Spyri/Diana Kizlauskas
JustKidsApps - Katrin Draemann Barothy
8 - 10 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 6 - 10
English • German •
In part one of three: Heidi is a girl first raised by her aunt Dete in Maienfeld, Switzerland. Dete brings young Heidi to her grandfather, who has been at odds with the villagers for years and lives in seclusion on the alm. Her grandfather at first resents Heidi's arrival, but the girl manages to penetrate his harsh exterior and subsequently has a delightful stay with him and her best friend, young Peter the goat-herd. Dete returns three years later to bring Heidi to Frankfurt. End of Part One. [Plot Summary courtesy of Wikipedia]