Monday, April 20, 2009
Man, those Victorians sure knew how to terrify children!
If you've never seen a copy of this book -- well ... maybe for those who are faint-hearted, that's a good thing.
Struwwelpeter (alternately known as Slovenly Peter or Shock-Headed Peter) is a book filled with nursery rhyme style verses / poems which were used by parents to keep their children in shape. Tough love, hah!
The title character, Slovenly Peter gets off easy. It's some of the other children & their habits listed in the book that will give you nightmares (who KNOWS what it did for little children back then).
Here are a few titles for you:
The Dreadful Story of Harriet and the Matches
The Story of the Inky Boys
The story of the Man Who went out Shooting
The story of Little Suck-A Thumb
I have to stop for a moment -- this poem freaks me out (can you tell I actually sucked my thumb for a while as a child?)
Ok, here's the poem:
One day Mama said "Conrad dear,
I must go out and leave you here.
But mind now, Conrad, what I say,
Don't suck your thumb while I'm away.
The great tall tailor always comes to little boys who suck their thumbs;
And ere they dream what he's about,
He takes his great sharp scissors out, and Cuts their thumbs clean off - and then,
You know, they never grow again.
Ok, there's more.... you guessed it. Conrad can't help himself & the tailor comes...
the pictures that go with this verse are just plain wrong.
Conrad ends up with no thumbs.
Not much nice stuff here at all. In fact, the whole book could make an adult queasy.
No wonder those victorians got a bad rap. They deserved it.
On the other hand, it IS a COOL book. Rotten stuff in it, but the illustrations are wild and the whole concept... well...
Maybe if I get some times I'll add a few pictures from the inside of the book.