Saturday, November 9, 2013

Struwwelpeter: freaky German tale for kids

We stopped by the Pfalzbibliothek, which is a library that features items that cover the history of the Pfalz as well as from Germany. There was a Struwwelpeter cutout where people could pose for pictures. Of course my friend and I had to cram our heads into it (separately).

For those who don't know, Struwwelpeter, or "Shockheaded Peter," is a character from a Heinrich Hoffman children's book by the same name. Hoffman wrote the book in 1845 when he couldn't find any good children's books for his small son. After reading some of the tales, which are moralistic in tone and are quite frightening, I'm not sure if these tales are really meant for small children!

Struwwelpeter, for example, is one dirty little dude who doesn't groom himself and no one likes him because of that. Dang! That's harsh, eh? The cutout at the library didn't show it, but usually he has super long fingernails (to go along with the whole theme of lack of grooming) and even looks a bit like Edward Scissorhands. His hair is always a crazy poof to illustrate that he's one messy dude.

In another story, a kid sucks his thumbs despite his mother's warnings. A roving tailor stops by and cuts his thumbs off. Isn't that some freaky stuff?! Kids generally love these tales but they are really dark. Of course, the other famous German fairy tales from the Grimm brothers are no lighter.

Struwwelpeter restaurant in Frankfurt. His freaky nails are a little more visible. Kinda unappetizing, eh?

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