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Heidi Heckelbeck Has a Secret

Illustrated by Priscilla Burris
Book #1 of Heidi Heckelbeck



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About The Book

Introducing Heidi Heckelbeck—a brand-new young chapter book series with witchy whimsy!

Now readers between the ages of five and seven can read chapter books tailor-made for a younger level of reading comprehension. Heavily illustrated with large type, Little Simon's young chapter books let young readers feel like they are reading a “grown-up” format with subject, text, and illustrations geared specifically for their own age groups!

Heidi Heckelbeck seems like any other eight-year-old, but she has a secret: She’s a witch in disguise. Careful to keep her powers hidden (but excited to use them all the same), Heidi’s learning to live like any other kid—who just happens to be witch. And with easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, Heidi Heckelbeck chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

Heidi and her brother Henry have always been homeschooled—until now. But Heidi is not happy about attending Brewster Elementary, especially not when meanie Melanie Maplethorpe turns Heidi’s first day of school into a nightmare by announcing that Heidi is smelly and ruining her art project. Heidi feels horrible and never wants to go back to school—but while sulking in her room at home, she remembers her special medallion and Book of Spells. With a little bit of carefully concealed magic, Heidi might be able to give Melanie a taste of her own medicine….





  Heidi Heckelbeck woke up in the Kingdom of Gloom.

  Grouchy Land.

  Grumpsville, USA.

  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.





“What’s the matter, pumpkin?” asked Dad.

  “Nothing,” said Heidi. “I just don’t want to go to school—EVER. That’s all.”

  Henry dropped his fork.



  “Never, ever?” asked Henry. “That means you won’t get to have a class pet! Or your own personal desk! Or fire drills.”

  “Who cares?” said Heidi.

  Dad sat down next to Heidi.

  “All is well,” said Dad. “And all will be well at school too.”

  “But I want to have school at home with Mom,” said Heidi.

  “We had a lot of fun,” said Mom, “but now it’s time to learn from teachers and books at school.”

  “I can teach myself,” said Heidi. “Besides, I like my book better.”

  Mom raised her eyebrows.

  “School needs you, Heidi,” said Dad. “You’re clever and kind.”

  “And kind of cuckoo,” added Henry.

  “Trust me,” said Dad. “I know you’re going to love school. And when you get home, you can be the first to test my brand-new fruit cola formula. I’m thinking of calling it Cherry Zing.”



  Mr. Heckelbeck worked at a soda pop company called The FIZZ. Heidi loved to try his secret formulas. Sometimes Heidi came up with her own formulas and shared them with her dad. Tasting a new fruit cola did sound a tiny bit fun.





Mom jingled her car keys. “Time to go,” she said cheerfully.

  Heidi groaned and slid off of her chair. She put on her black jean jacket and backpack. Then she said her good-byes: “Good-bye, tree fort classroom! Good-bye, backyard cafeteria!”

  “You forgot something,” said Henry.

  “What?” asked Heidi.


  And off they went.



About The Author

Wanda Coven

Wanda Coven has always loved magic. When she was little, she used to make secret potions from smooshed shells and acorns. Then she would pretend to transport herself and her friends to enchanted places. Now she visits other worlds through writing. Wanda lives with her husband and son in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They have three cats: Hilda, Agnes, and Claw-dia.

About The Illustrator

(c) Priscilla Burris
Priscilla Burris

Priscilla Burris is the illustrator and author-illustrator of many books for children. She attributes her love of children’s books and library visits to the East Los Angeles Library. Priscilla loves her role of creating characters and stories for readers everywhere. She lives in sunny Arizona, where she finds the sunrises and sunsets awe-inspiring. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Little Simon (January 3, 2012)
  • Length: 128 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442435650
  • Ages: 5 - 9
  • Lexile ® 580L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

Raves and Reviews

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

Awards and Honors

  • MSTA Reading Circle List

Resources and Downloads

More books from this author: Wanda Coven

More books from this illustrator: Priscilla Burris

More books in this series: Heidi Heckelbeck