Originally uploaded by daniel.schenzer
I thought I’d search an old German children’s book to test out Google Book Search. Can’t believe it, not only did I get a result, but also whole page images (which I couldn’t copy), extracts of popular passages and interesting background information. I still can’t believe this book – so violent and politically incorrect. It’s fascinating to see what was important for children of nineteenth century Germany. The author wrote and illustrated it in 1845 as a Christmas present for his 3 year old son. I’m not sure of the psychological damage done to this little boy as he pored over stories with gruesome consequences that befell children who tormented animals, played with matches, sucked their thumbs and refused to eat their soup. As you can see from the picture I’ve included about the boy who sucked his thumb, the illustrations spare no detail. Actually, it reminds me a little of Itchy and Scratchy from The Simpsons – not the moralising part, just the violence. I’m not sure what I thought of all this when I read it as a young girl. I must have realised that it wasn’t a realistic depiction of what would happen to me if I displayed any of this behaviour. Grimms’ fairy tales were no less gruesome. I think kids like that, actually. Look at older kids watching South Park.
The Google book search gives a synopsis, reviews, other editions, where to buy or borrow from a library, the option to add to your Google library or write a review. You can search genres within fiction and non-fiction.