Heidi’s Alp: One Family’s Search for Storybook Europe
By Christina Hardyment. Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987, 258 pp.
“The greatest travelers travel alone,” wrote John Julius Norwich, in A Taste for Travel. Maybe so. But some very fine travelers travel with families, and their books can be just as engaging.
In Heidi’s Alp,
Christina Hardyment recounts the 7-week journey she took with her four daughters, ages 5 through 12, to explore the roots of European fairy tales. As they travel from their Oxford home to Holland, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and France, the author describes the adventures with the children while reflecting on the stories of Hans Brinker, The Little Mermaid, the Pied Piper, Pinocchio, William Tell, and Babar. Fairy tales these may be, but as Hardyment relates them to their authors and the cultures from which they emerged, they are fascinating for adults as well. (more…)