The Treasures of Childhood -“Struwwelpeter”

When looking for inspiration and or themes for the blog I often go to my collection of toy reference books. This morning I rediscovered the book “The Treasures of Childhood” by Iona Robert Opie and Brian Alderson. This is a beautiful book with a lot of color photographs of old toys and I plan to steal (opps -I mean share) excerpts from it often.

Treaures of Childhood cover

Many of the wonderful toys of the past would not meet today’s Toy Safety Standards so I guess they would be called “Collectables” as they do now with reproductions of tin toys …that we have a lot of online at Art Of Toys.

Sparkling Robot Schylling 800

I was intrigued with the stories of “Struwwelpeter” who was depicted in several scary looking stories which were “funny books for boys and girls” but some look a bit nightmarish. Dr. Heinrich Hoffman wrote in Germany the original story and after the sixth edition a English version was published. The pictures were lithographed and hand-colored in Germany for the English market. In 1973, Peter Opie claimed that fewer than six perfect copies of the first edition were known. The fingernails on Peter are definitely a Freddie Kruger look.


Poem reads:

Just look at him! There he stands,

With his nasty hair and hands,

See his nails are never cut;

They are grim’d as black as soot;

And the sloven, I declare,

Never once has comb’d his hair;

Any thing to me is sweeter

Than to see Shock-headed Peter.

There has been many parodies of Struwwelpeter over the years… including “A Nazi Storybook”. I just discovered a new collection…. how about you?