From the Publisher
Heidi Heckelbeck Has a Secret.
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
School Library Journal
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.—Amanda Moss Struckmeyer, Middleton Public Library, WI
Read an Excerpt
Heidi Heckelbeck Has a Secret
Heidi Heckelbeck woke up in the Kingdom of Gloom.
Heidi felt like the princess of Crankypants. Because not only was it the first day of school—it was her first day of school EVER.
Heidi had never been to school before. She had always had school at home with her five-year-old brother, Henry. Mom had been their teacher. But starting today Heidi Heckelbeck would be a brand-new second grader at Brewster Elementary.
Mom popped her head into Heidi’s room. “Time to get up!” she sang.
“Merg!” growled Heidi.
She flumped her pillow on top of her face. A million questions swirled in her head. What if the teacher was mean? What if she couldn’t find her way to the bathroom? What if she sat next to a boy who picked his nose?
Heidi dragged herself out of bed and got dressed. She put on her black jean skirt with her kitty cat top. Then she wiggled into her black-and-white- striped tights and black sneakers. Not even her favorite outfit made her feel cheery. She plodded downstairs.
Mom placed a happy-face pancake in front of Heidi. It had blueberry eyes, a mouth of raspberries, and sausage eyebrows.
Heidi stuck out her tongue at her pancake.
“It’s still smiling,” said Henry.
Heidi used her fork to move the food around.
“Not anymore,” said Heidi.
“Mom!” yelled Henry. “Heidi made a mad-face pancake!”
Heidi rolled her eyes.
“You know what?” said Henry as he dipped a sausage in syrup. “You should wear pink. Pink looks friendly.”
“Pretty in pink!” added Mom with a wink.
“Wait, what’s wrong with the way I look?” said Heidi.
“Uh . . . nothing, really,” said Henry. “It’s just that your outfit kind of looks like a Halloween costume. What if you spook the other kids on your first day of school?”
“Har-dee-har-har,” said Heidi. But Henry’s comment kind of bugged her.
Heidi’s dad walked into the kitchen as he fixed his tie.
“Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!” he sang. He stopped when he saw Heidi’s unhappy face. She was not in a Disneyland mood.