My Photo

Bookish Places


Blog powered by Typepad

« Short Story Sunday: Roman Fever & Dimanche | Main | February 26: Reading Notes »



I really must find this! I know I would love reading it.

I recently picked up a beautifully illustrated, perfect condition, Heidi on our library sales cart - for 20 cents! I've been slowly savoring this story that captivated me as a child, and feeling like a young girl all over again.

Loved hearing about Heidi's Alp! Thank you.

Elizabeth (The Bamboo Bookcase)

I love the idea of a bookish take on a travelogue. I'll definitely look for this book. Too bad they changed the name for the US version -- I like The Canary-Coloured Cart much better.


This sounds like my kind of thing (I also have a travel book habit) so have jotted it down to look for later. I also have a shelf full of travel books, and keep taking them out of the library too. Can I recommend 'Down the Nile' by Rosemary Mahoney... absolutely fascinating. And I've just started another about a chap who walked the London underground... but *overground*. Already very interesting.


I borrowed this book from my library and read it probably almost 10 years ago when I was steeped in children's literature, reading aloud to my two youngest children. I should borrow it again. My middle child, who is now 21 going on 22, had two of her senior thesis profs tell her that she was the most eloquent 21-year-old they had ever heard. She told them that it was because she had been read to since she had left the womb. Boy does that make me feel good! (I'm not really sure that it was ALL about the books that she heard, but it certainly helped, and they were many of the books that Heidi's Alp talked about.)


Do you know I never did read Heidi as a child? I should really do so now after reading about the inspiration for the book. You can't beat a bargain like that--library sales are great, aren't they?! I think you would enjoy this very much and the chapter on Switzerland and the family exploring Heidi's Alp was one of my favorites. I think used copies can be had pretty cheaply!


This was a different and very enjoyable spin on a regular travel narrative. It had lots of interesting elements and I think it is going to stick with me for some time. I like the UK title, too. It suits the contents well!

Claire (The Captive Reader)

I have been looking out for this since you first mentioned it and am now certain that I'll have to track it down! I love almost any sort of travel narrative but one that is focused on exploring the Europe of children's literature sounds particularly irresistible.


I used to read loads of travel narratives, but this is the first one I've read in a long time. I really must remedy that and pick out a few more. Wait, I lie--I loved Patrick Leigh Fermor's books that I read a year or two ago, but still too few travel books. You can indeed recommend any book--I have added Down the Nile to my wishlist--it sounds exactly like something I would like. Have you read Robin Davidson's Tracks about her travels in Australia by camel?! Do you know off hand the title of the last book you mention--about the London Underground--as explored overground? That sounds good, too!


This would be a really fun book to read in tandem with the books she talks about. I don't have children so I missed out on reading all those stories aloud and it has been hit or miss in terms of reading them myself. Reading about fairy tales was fun since I was reading fairy tales last fall. I need to read Hans Christian Andersen now, too. I know it doesn't always work out that children who are read to will be readers themselves, but I think they surely must carry those stories through life with them nonetheless. I like your story and it would make me feel pretty good, too! :)


I think you would enjoy it--a nice spin on an otherwise regular travel narrative. She wrote about so many interesting things that I didn't mention here (impossible to write proper posts on nonfiction it seems). Do you have access to interlibrary loan? Not sure if your library would have it, but I bet they could borrow it from another one. Good luck in your search!


The London Underground book is called Walk the Lines and is by Mark Mason. The AmazonUK link is here:

No, I haven't read Tracks but will go and check it out in a moment. Since reading Bill Bryson's wonderful Down Under (called something different in the US) I have an interest in Oz, even though I doubt I will ever go there.

I'm sure you, know but in case you don't, there's new biography of Patrick Leigh Fermor out. I have it on my wishlist. Also his book of letters with Deborah Devonshire is very readable.


I thought this sounded intriguing the first time you mentioned it and I really do love the sound of it - I will have to see if I can get me a copy. I'm really attracted by the premise of combining travel with children's literature and I've always wanted to know more about Hans Christian Anderson (poor, poor man that I think he must have been). As ever you do come across some real gems!


This sounds like just the type book I enjoy reading, and aspire to writing! I'll have to add it to my list.


What a fun summer adventure! Did the children love it too? It seems so ideal. When I was a kid there was usually a big camping trip somewhere which meant long drives. But we never failed to make detours for caves and ghost towns. I have Calvino's Italian folk tales. I got it secondhand a number of years ago. It's a big fat book. One of these days I will get around to reading it!


This sounds very appealing and seems to combine a lot of different things. The title is a bit misleading, don't you think? It gives the impression of something much narrower than it really is.


This sounds like an awesome book. I would love to read all the little backstories (I'm assuming there's many?) about the authors and fairytales, and to see what it was like to stand on sites that inspired the stories. I echo Stefanie- what was her childrens' reaction?


I have a lovely special edition HEIDI I got some years back, with beautiful illos. It has an introduction by Hayley Mills> is a photo of the cover.


Oh, the only thing I didn't like about this book was Hardyment's dismissal of the Tritten sequels. I don't think Peter was "gormless"! Like a lot of boys, I think he was just a bit lazy and thought with his stomach. Once he had more responsibility and some kind of vision for the future he woke up.


Sounds like an interesting read, I must look out for it


Looks like a lovely edition and how cool that Hayley Mills wrote the intro. I am guessing she must have played Heidi in a film?


Thanks--I've added the book on the London Underground to my wishlist! Tracks is a great read if you can get ahold of it, and I read one Bill Bryson book ages ago and keep meaning to read more. Not sure I will ever get to Australia, but I would love to see it someday. I knew there was a new bio of PLF out, thanks for the reminder as I do want to get my hands on it. I think the third of his travel books is also supposed to be published sometime in the near future, too? And I splurged and bought the book of letters between PLF and Deborah Devonsire--can't wait to get to it. Lots of wonderful books to explore! :)


I bet you can pick up a nice inexpensive used copy--I think it is now OOP both here and in the UK, sadly. I loved the premise, too, and she handles it all nicely--a little travel, a little history, references to the literature. And to think this book was sitting for years and years on my bookshelf!


I think she has written a number of other books--all very different from each other by the looks of them. I think you would like it if you happen upon a copy!


I think they did--well as much as any kid loves a summer vacation. They were meant to keep journals since they got out of school before the term actually ended and they often sent postcards of the (literary/historical) places they visited back to their classes. I think there were moments of having seen too much--hence visits to places like Legoland (decidedly un-literary, but totally entertaining). If their reaction at the end is anything to go by they were already planning their next adventure, though I am not sure it ever happened (at least quite like this one). I have only one recollection of an all-out family vacation--I guess one long car trip was more than enough for my poor parents! ;) I need to buy that Calvino book--I like what he had to say about fairy tales.


It's definitely more than just about Heidi's Alp--that was only one small section really--I guess the subtitle, which is likely often left off, is meant to broaden it all out ("one family's search for storybook Europe"). I like the UK title, too, as someone else mentioned since it is more about the idea of traveling in their caravan. But there is lots to like about the book--the things she writes about!


I think this would be right up your alley as I know you read lots of nonfiction. There is quite a lot about Hans Christian Andersen, and yes, there is all sorts of interesting things about the fairy tales and his writing--she also writes about the other authors (of Heidi, of Pinocchio, the Brothers Grimm) as well as interesting bits of history behind some of the stories. In many ways it seems a typical family vacation with a special spin and I think they did appreciate it--the Harduyments balanced the learning aspect of the travels with fun. They seemed very good sports considering their adventure and at book's end were already thinking of their next adventure. What a cool thing to do as a child!


She wasn't especially enthusiastic about them, was she? And I've not read any. It would have been fun to read the books/stories along with this book--I should have planned it out better.


If you like travel narratives, it's quite good, and if you like children's literature, too, it's one you would really enjoy I think!

Sandra Danby

Your review makes me want to read it! SD


Do look for a copy--I really enjoyed it--an unusual travel narrative--I liked the bits about the family as much as reading about the destinations! :)

Christina Hardyment

Not really replying to Penny but just to say that I'm delighted with all this enthusiasm I have just discovered for our 1985 journey, and that I still regret not being able to make a similar storybook journey across America - someone should surely do so.
My four daughters have a brace of babies each now, and being a grandmother is huge fun. Thanks too for the link to my website - its Notepad is my own very intermittent blog.


Hi Christina,
Thanks so much for your comment. Your book has been very much enjoyed by a number of people who commented here (and likely others who only passed through). I know I really liked the book--certainly a storybook sort of journey--literally and figuratively! It would be cool to read about a US version--maybe someone will be inspired to set off and chronicle their experiences! I was curious what paths your daughters took--you come to 'know' them through the pages of your book. Very best wishes to you and your family! And I will drop by again at your website--would love to hear about your current writing projects!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Books Read in 2020

Books Read in 2019

Books Read in 2018

Books Read in 2017

Books Read in 2016

Books Read in 2015