Coven, Wanda (Author) , Burris, Priscilla (Illustrator)
Mar 2012. 128 p. Simon & Schuster/Little Simon, hardcover, $14.99. (9781442440876). Simon &
Schuster/Little Simon, paperback, $4.99. (9781442435650).
Heidi has always been taught at home, and she is nervous and grumpy about starting second grade at
Brewster Elementary. And it’s a not-so-promising beginning when mean-queen Melanie puts Heidi on her
radar, taunting her, vandalizing her art project for Mr. Doodlebee, and suggesting she play a tree in the
class production of The Wizard of Oz (while Melanie is Dorothy, of course)—and all on the first day!
Even though Heidi meets a nice girl named Lucy, she feels she doesn’t fit in at school and wishes she
never had to return. But sudden inspiration leads her to conjure up a plan for payback and her secret is
revealed in the teaser ending. Geared towards new readers, this series opener features simple vocabulary,
large and well-spaced text, short chapters, and interspersed black-and-white cartoon-style drawings while
sympathetically depicting Heidi’s challenges, from dealing with bullies to finding friends. Assorted
characters—including Heidi’s supportive mom, soda pop–formula inventor dad, and peppy younger
brother—add lively touches, and the ending hints of more mischief to come.
Booklist, February 15, 2012
COVEN, Wanda. Heidi Heckelbeck Has a Secret. Bk. 1. illus. by Priscilla Burris. 118p. (Heidi Heckelbeck Series). CIP. S & S/Little Simon. 2012. Tr $14.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-4087-6; pap. $4.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-3565-0; ebook $5.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-3566-7. LC 2011014304.
Gr 1-3–After being homeschooled, Heidi Heckelbeck is not happy about starting second grade at Brewster Elementary. Her bad attitude shines through hilariously in dialogue and details, such as a math problem she makes up: “Heidi + School = Yuck.” Quickly, mean Melanie and nice new friend Lucy emerge as Heidi makes her way through class, lunch in the cafeteria, and rehearsal for the school play. Much of the plot centers on Melanie’s nasty antics. Don’t worry; Heidi gets even, thanks to the fact that she is a witch and she consults her Book of Spells in the cliff-hanger ending. It’s this secret about her identity, and Heidi’s relatable personality, that will keep readers coming back for more. Large font, an engaging story, and frequent illustrations make this a good choice for new chapter-book readers.
SLJ, June 2012