Wednesday, January 23, 2013



Being a little British child, I was raised reading Heinrich Hoffmann's Struwwelpeter.
 I couldn't get enough of it.
Since I am going to be a Grand Mamma soon, I wonder if people still read these tales to children? I think not!

 Hoffmann, a psychologist, obviously believed in the "Scare you straight" school of child rearing. 
Have you read Harriet and the Matches?

I must read these again with my mum next time she is here so she can remember how awful (fantastic) they were.
You can read some more nasty little stories HERE.


  1. First time introduction to Struwwelpeter . . . might be the answer for thumb sucker recovery! Harriet and the Matches, next please?

  2. I am in the frame of mind, with babies up there on my mind too ... that frightening children with horrific stories , maiming, bad people etc, is not a good thing.
    My step-dad told me if I ever got caught playing with matches, he would burn me.
    I don't remember if I ever played with a match after that but I know I didn't trust him like I did before.

  3. Interesting. Well, not sure if you are looking for opinions but giving one I would not be reading these stories to my grandchild. That said, I will be googling Harriet and the Matches.

  4. I've never heard of this author but I grew up reading Enid Blyton books, which also used the "scare the living heck out of your children" approach. I remember one of the books had a story in it about a little girl who constantly lied and her nose grew each time...there was a little drawing of her, staring down cross eyed at her long nose and it terrified me!

    I've never heard of Harriet and the Matches either but it sounds intriguing!

    Did you read Milly-Molly-Mandy books? I have the boxset from my childhood, it's so adorable!

  5. I have an idea! Why not read these to your grandchildren when they are 16? They may appreciate them then and thank you for not scaring them when they were younger.
    Great illustrations in that book.

  6. Hi Chania,
    OMG I loved this book to distraction as a kid! Squealing with laughter and terror, reading it over and over! One thing is sure I never played with matches, sucked my thumb or fidgeted at the table and I ate all my soup!! Thank you for bringing back all the memories.

  7. I don't know - I think children love 'goodies and baddies' stories ( especially when they themselves are the goodies.) I read my children all the 'Little Red Riding Hood'' 'Three Little Pigs' etc type stories which if you take them literally are pretty violent, but they loved them and both of them have grown up OK - so perhaps I'll go along with 'A Normandy Kitchen's comment :)

  8. I was at a Response Abilities Pathways training on how to help difficult kids. These stories were used to show that negative results does not help encourage kids that are so used to negativity. It doesn't affect them. Hard to explain 3 days of training. Anyway, there was a German teacher there and he was very offended that these stories were seen as over the top. He said they were still used in Germany today. I laughed when I saw your photos. Times change.

  9. Check out Hillaire Belloc's Cautionary Tales. Very clever. My sons loved them.

  10. Perhaps I should have read this to Eva when nothing seemed to work as we tried to stop her thumb sucking. But then she broke her arm, and literally couldnt get the thumb to her mouth with the plaster set the way it was. Worked a treat!

  11. Ha! Times have sure changed. I'm not familiar with these books but the drawings are fabulous. I'm off to look around some more.

  12. It's crazy to think about fairy tales and kids books from when we were young! Even some cartoons were so un-politically correct!


I love to read each and every comment and are thrilled that you take the time to send one. Thank you so much. Chania