A little over 150 years ago a German father decided that there were no good books to read to his son and endeavored to write and illustrate his very own. There were several lessons he aimed to teach his child and, being German, he didn’t beat around the bush. The lessons included things like:
- If you play with matches you will burn to death and cats will cry on your ashes.
- If you don’t eat your supper you will starve to death.
- A tailor with giant shears will snip your thumbs off if you don’t stop sucking them.
And so was born Struwwelpeter (Shock-Headed Peter) a book I was completely unaware existed until a good friend said, “You really have to get this book.” I did, because I do everything he says, and I don’t regret it a single bit. In an age of sterile, soulless books for children this is a most refreshing one – and that goes for the adult as well. I’d much rather read about a boy suffering for his maltreatment of animals than I would anything shat out by the Baby Einstein empire. Not many books have morals like if you go out in a storm you will be blown to your doom.
The book’s title comes from one of the book’s stories about a boy who is poorly groomed – so no one likes him. Compared to the other tales he gets off pretty easy.
You can find Struwwelpeter on Amazon.