Thursday, 31 May 2012

May 31st - Warning - unsuitable for children. Not to be read at bedtime.

I LOVE twitter - it is full of links to all sorts of serendipitous sites. How else would I have uncovered this one? (from a tweet by the QI Elves @quikipedia)

picture  from wikipedia

I am constantly amazed at the kind of things adults thought were suitable for children. It took me many, many years to get over reading Struwwelpeter. My grandmother had a copy - from her childhood? It probably wasn't that old. Perhaps it was her children's copy. "Merry", the stories were not.

The one that frightened me most was "The Story of the Thumb-Sucker", in which a mother warns her son not to suck his thumbs. However, when she goes out of the house he resumes his thumb sucking, until a roving tailor appears and cuts off his thumbs with giant scissors. The story (in German) is here along with the picture that kept me awake.

I guess it is in the tradition of Hillaire Belloc's "Cautionary Tales for Children", another of my grandmother's books;
Cautionary Tales for Children 1907 edition.jpg

Not Now Bernard by David Mckee

"Not now, Bernard" is more of a cautionary tale for parents. As I recall, the monster eats Bernard on about page one, and his parents never notice.

1 comment:

  1. You too?! That thumb-sucker tale kept me awake and terrified for years! And Mr GP will tell you all about Struwwelpeter. Not Now, Bernard is small meat by comparison.