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Der Struwwelpeter

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,022 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
Wer kennt nicht die Verse über den Zappelphilipp, Hans Guck-in-die -Luft und den Suppenkaspar? Der berühmteste deutsche Kinderbuchklassiker liegt hier in einem Nachdruck der Frankfurter Originalausgabe vor.(Amazon)
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published by Diogenes Verlag AG (first published 1845)
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Black Beauty by Anna SewellThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainHave Space Suit—Will Travel by Robert A. HeinleinThe Little House Collection by Laura Ingalls WilderUnpopular Essays by Bertrand Russell
30th out of 30 books — 15 voters

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Petra X
May 05, 2015 Petra X rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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)

Struwwelpeter is all about children getting punished in the nastiest possible ways for their awful misdeeds. I loved this book when I was a kid. I also loved Dis
Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽
This is one of those picture books I grew up with, and so I have an unreasonable amount of love for it, even though it's kind of awful? Credit goes to my German-speaking mom, although I'm not sure if she shared this book with my siblings and me because she thought it was a funny book or was trying to scare us straight.

This is a German children's book first published in 1845, when society (particularly in Germany, I suspect) was much in the mode of "spare the rod and spoil the child." No children
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 But, let's face it, back then they were seriously out of date, and now they're so archaic that they aren't amusing even as kitsch.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 someone produce an updated edition? I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult. Here are some suggestions:
Scarlett, Who Read Glossy Women's Magazines And Died Of Anorexia

Keith, Who Didn't Believe In Climate Change And
Jul 17, 2009 Miriam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Authoritarian sadists
Shelves: picture

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 found it impossible not to laugh on almost every page.

Here's a sample, courtesy of the Gutenberg version. If you also know the English Struwwelpeter, just try reading it aloud while looking at the pictur
Mar 15, 2015 Dorcas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 18, 2015 Hana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hana by: Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽
This book is wonderful in a gruesome sort of way and the illustrations are the best!

My favorite was the tale of the little girl who played with matches, even though her good cats, Minz und Maunz, tried to make her behave. The moral of the story is you should always listen to your cats.

The story of the boy who never looked where he was going was edifying. These days he would be looking at a smart phone, not the sky, but his terrible end would be the same! Be warned!!!

Thank you, Tadiana for intro
I read this book as a child. While I loved the stories of bad children getting their due ( I had three brothers who were always up to no good. I think I wished some serious consequences would come their way), I mostly remember poring over the wonderful illustrations. I particularly liked the portrayal of animals- loved the rabbit wearing spectacles and toting a gun.(I had forgotten all about this until recently reading Petra's great review. Thanks Petra!)
A classic German children's book, but one that, in my opinion, is or rather can be too frightening and too strictly pedagogical for many children. I was actually frightened by a number of the stories when I was a child, and while I have much more of an appreciation for and of the book now, I still think that many of the stories (as well as the illustrations, and in many ways, these even more so) can be rather frightening for imaginative and very sensitive children. I certainly would not simply r ...more
A Bookworm Reading (Plethora)
The tales told here remind me of Mother Goose type of little rhymes, used to teach children to behave or who knows what awful fate they may meet. Some of these have mild punishments for misbehaving, while others are down right horrific. It is likely that these short verses worked well at keeping children out of too much trouble when they were written in 1845, while children may not have truly believed the outcomes they probably didn't want to step out of line either. Children today, overall, are ...more
Sep 07, 2011 Erika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Had been trying to get it for years and now I finally have! There's lots of reviews of people saying it's horrifying and cruel and with zero psychological value, and I couldn't disagree more! First of all, the stories ain't all that terrible and shouldn't be taken so literally. The author wasn't killing real kids, was he? And there's a lesson behind almost every story. For example, take the one about the girl playing with matches and getting burn. Isn't that a true thing? Doesn' ...more
Lucie Novak
Nov 30, 2015 Lucie Novak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only read it as an adult, and the gruesome stories, loved by my mother's generation were loved by my kids, too. And then I saw a brilliant theatre production in London . This book, written by a fellow GP is still fun.
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
Jul 12, 2013 Dustin Crazy little brown owl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers like me
Recommended to Dustin Crazy little brown owl by: people that want to scare children
Wow! This will scare the kids into behaving for sure - complete with graphic pictures of injuries and death. Written in the 1800's. I read the English 1985 translation.

I shall share the highlights of my top 3 favorite disturbing fairy tales of the Struwwelpeter collection(shared in no particular order):

#1 Story of Augustus Who Would Not Have Any Soup
Augustus was a chubby lad; Fat ruddy cheeks Augustus had...
Augustus ate his soup everyday just like a good little fat boy should but then... (view
May 16, 2011 Balente1978 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Questo libretto mi è ricaduto in mano dopo tanti anni, e quasi non lo ricordavo.
Hoffmann era un medico, ed inventava molte storielle per tenere a bada i piccoli malati dei quali si occupava. Sono create da lui, ma attingono molto anche dalla tradizione popolare.
Grazie alle rime serrate ed accattivanti, queste filastrocche piacquero così tanto che nel 1845 vennero messe in stampa.
Conquistarono immediatamente i bambini come i grandi.
E gran parte del successo fu da attribuire anche alle accatti
So she was burnt, with all her clothes,
And arms, and hands, and eyes, and nose;
Till she had nothing more to lose
Except her little scarlet shoes;
And nothing else but these was found
Among her ashes on the ground.

That's something you don't see very often these days in a children's book. Struwwelpeter has a bit of a reputation of being macabre, but there are actually only three stories where misbehaving children end up dead or mutilated. Doesn't sound very fun, you say? Well, the rhymes make the sto
Jul 28, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Read this in translation as a kid. *unilingual* Stories designed to terrify children into compliance. Which obviously failed on me. *flaunts deviancy* ;)
The girl who plays with matches is burned alive. The fussy eater starves to death. The umbrella-user is carried, by a storm, to his doom. Clearly, he was deserving. ;)
The most horrific is The Story of Little Suck a Thumb which is animated here...

*shakes fist at German psyche*

Jim Peterson
Book review for learners of German:

We all know the original Grimm’s fairy tales were more gruesome than the Disney stories we grew up watching. Der Struwwelpeter is another example of a children’s book that today’s parents find shocking even though the book has been read to children for generations. Nearly every German knows this story, so it is culturally significant. But, no, I would not read this to my daughter. You can view it for free on Project Gutenberg (
Jan 20, 2008 Justin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A ghastly and horrifying collection of children's stories guaranteed to frighten and scare your children. What else is there to say about a book where children's thumbs are severed as a punishment for sucking them or where little girls are burned to death because they play with match (nothing quite as disturbing as seeing an illustration of two sad cats crying a river of tears beside the charred remains of a disobedient German child).
Sep 26, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Next to Max and Moritz, this is the best book to traumatize disobedient children. Those Germans know their discipline. . .
Helga Ganguly
Jan 17, 2011 Helga Ganguly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I still have the original in German that my parents brought with us when we emigrated from Austria. I also have an Translated copy in English. I remember my mother owned a set of clay pins issued during the war to illustrate the stories. I have no idea why Americans always seem to be so horrified by the stories. My mother never instilled any fear in me when she read me the stories. They were funny A Southpark selfhelp book. No one ever mentions the 3 little boys who tormented the black youth. Th ...more
Jan 30, 2016 Carol rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hated it as a child, still hate it as an adult. Way too cruel and preachy.
Jul 04, 2015 Constance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Constance by: The History of Books in 100 Books
Shelves: y-p-classics

I don't know what I'd have made of this as a child, but apparently generations of children have "seen the humor in its impossibly exaggerated situations" (31) showing the extreme fates of disobedient children, ranging from death for failing to eat your soup to having your place taken over by the family dog if you're a nasty bully. I found the rhyming verses cleverly done, and the illustrations bizarre. This edition has English translation with the original German in the back; it was interesting
Mar 10, 2010 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
I inherited this book from my great-grandmother as a child. I loved it then because it was so weird. I couldn't believe that children's books used to be like this and I would show it to all my friends and we would laugh a lot at how strange it was. The edition I had was very old and possibly had the Slovenly Betsy stories as well. I remember one story that isn't in the newer editions about a boy who ate, smoked, and drank too much and eventually split in two. Too crazy!!
Eric Berntson
Apr 26, 2007 Eric Berntson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children
Shelves: circular
This was one of my first books, and it explains a lot on how I view the world. How I believe bad children & people should be punished. It explains why my humor often has a dark undertone. I found an English language version of this the prose is not quite as good but it is very entertaining. Modern version of this book the art is faded, better to find a good copy. I did learn it was important to brush your hair & cut your nails.
Aug 16, 2011 Therese rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
A friend recommended this to my four year old daughter as a joke. With ancient German, illustrated stories about the man who cuts off the thumbs of naughty little thumbsuckers, of little girls who burst into flames while their kitties howl in mourning because they dared play with fire.
Yeah. I bought it.
LE found it. She loves it. Really loves it.

I am a ghastly mother. But my child does NOT suck her thumb.
Aug 28, 2007 Kristina rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: strange children & adults
I first had this read to me when I was quite young, but didn't get a translated version until I was in high school. Over 150 years old and it still has good lessons in it. Like if you suck your thumbs they just may get cut off, and lighting matches could leave you in a pile of ash. Germany has a bit of a different feel for children's literature than the happy-go-luckyness of American lit.
Karen Klein
Oct 08, 2014 Karen Klein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book! I have both the English and German versions and they are very old :) They were given to me by my parents when I was a child. The stores scared my kids when they were young. :)
Aug 23, 2015 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have GOT to have a copy of this book. Very grusome for a childrens book but very much worth the read. Thank you GR for recommending this book to me. Personal favourite i think was the girl in the red shoes.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
A hair-raising cautionary tale of boys who face the consequences of their bad behavior. Translated from the German, originally published in 1847.
Sally Tarbox
Oct 08, 2014 Sally Tarbox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The English Struwwelpeter or Pretty Stories and Funny Pictures", October 8, 2014

This review is from: Struwwelpeter in English Translation (Dover Children's Classics) (Paperback)
I was brought up on Struwwelpeter - a series of hilarious 'morality rhymes' for children from 1840s Germany. Who could forget 'Fidgety Phil' pulling the tablecloth and all its contents onto his head? ("Table oh so bare, and ah! Poor Papa and poor Mama Look quite cross, and wonder how They shall make their dinner now.")
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Note: There is more than one Heinrich Hoffman.

Heinrich Hoffmann was a German psychiatrist, who also wrote some short works including Der Struwwelpeter (German for either "slovenly Peter" or "shock-haired Peter"), an illustrated book portraying children misbehaving.

He wrote under the following names:

- Polykarpus Gastfenger (The given name is the German version of that of a Christian martyr; the su
More about Heinrich Hoffmann...

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