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Struwwelpeter: Merry Stories and Funny Pictures

Heinrich Hoffmann

Book Overview: 

Struwwelpeter (Slovenly Peter) is an illustrated collection of humorous children’s poems describing ludicrous and usually violent punishments for naughty behavior. Hoffmann, a Frankfurt physician, wanted to buy a picture book for his son for Christmas. Not impressed by what the stores had to offer, he instead bought a notebook and wrote his own stories and pictures. While Struwwelpeter is somewhat notorious for its perceived brutal treatment of the erring children.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .He caught the flies, poor little things,
And then tore off their tiny wings,
He killed the birds, and broke the chairs,
And threw the kitten down the stairs;
And oh! far worse than all beside,
He whipped his Mary, till she cried. The trough was full, and faithful Tray
Came out to drink one sultry day;
He wagged his tail, and wet his lip,
When cruel Fred snatched up a whip,
And whipped poor Tray till he was sore,
And kicked and whipped him more and more:
At this, good Tray grew very red,
And growled, and bit him till he bled;
Then you should only have been by,
To see how Fred did scream and cry!

So Frederick had to go to bed:
His leg was very sore and red!
The Doctor came, and shook his head,
And made a very great to-do,
And gave him nasty physic too. . . . Read More

Community Reviews

A classic German children's book, but one that, in my opinion, is or rather can be too violent and also at times too strictly pedagogical for children, or rather, some children. I was actually frightened by a number of the tales when I was a child, and while I have much more of an appreciation fo...more

Rating this translation of the classic German picture book is difficult. Yes, Heinrich Hoffmann's Der Struwwelpeter was and still is considered a classic of German children's literature, but nevertheless I still do not really believe that the stories contained therein are at all suitable for some...more

This is some freaky shit.

I read this innumerable times in English translation as a child, and still know a lot of it by heart... but somehow I had never got around to looking at the German original. OMG, it is the most hysterically funny thing I have seen in at least a month. My German is very, very poor, and even so I f...more

This book is the antidote to Disney. It is the opposite of all those nasty, sugar-sweet versions of Cinderella, the Little Mermaid and worst of all Winnie-the-Pooh. (view spoiler)[Worst because Eeyore was, in the original, A.A. Milne version, a sarcastic, depressive real loner of a donkey, not a sweet-natured s... (hide spoiler)]

I had read a number of reviews about this book, and have read the Hitler propaganda version Struwwelhitler: A Nazi Story Book, so when I found this book for 50c in a second hand bookstore, I picked it up. My edition isn't that old (a 1981 printing of a 1972 publication) but it maintains the class...more

I read these classic morality tales enough times as a kid that I knew large chunks by heart. But, let's face it, back then they were seriously out of date, and now they're so archaic that they aren't amusing even as kitsch. No wonder most children today haven't heard of them.

So why doesn't someon...more

According to recent research there was an additional story meant for publication, but was somehow missing from the final book. So, in addition to the stories of the Shock-headed Peter, Cruel Frederick, Fidgety Philip, and Johnny Head-in-Air we can expect to read the following story in future edit...more

Some kids might be a little traumatized with this book, but I dare say most would love it. All the things threatened to happen when children misbehave actually happen. It's a dark book but amusing in its own way.

Der Struwwelpeter is one of those picture books I grew up with, and read and heard repeatedly as a child, so I have an unreasonable amount of love for it, even though it's kind of awful? All credit goes to my German-speaking mom, although I'm not sure if she shared this book with my siblings and...more

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