|picture from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Struwwelpeter|
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 http://de.wikisource.org/wiki/Der_Struwwelpeter/Die_Geschichte_vom_Daumenlutscher 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;
"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.