Struwwelpeter: Fearful Stories and Vile Pictures to Instruct Good Little Folksby Heinrich Hoffmann
The famous children's morality tale gets a new treatment.See more details below
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The famous children's morality tale gets a new treatment.
Horn BookDr. Hoffman, who originally subtitled his work Cheerful Stories and Funny Pictures for Good Little Folks, would likely turn over in his grave were he to view Sarita Vendetta's mordant, surreal contemporary art for Slovenly Peter and his unruly peers. While Hoffman's loose sketches drew on the tradition of the caricature, often crafting serial art to tell a single rhyming lesson, Vendetta's single black-and-white image for each tale reminds one of Salvadore Dali at his most macabre. The prominent notice on the back cover, warning that this one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old children's book as presently conceived is not for children, is truly on the mark; Vendetta's sensual, erotic, deeply disturbing art is nightmarish. Early generations of children were doubtless both repulsed by and delighted with the too-slender cartoon tailor whose too-large scissors lopped off the thumbs of "Little Suck-a-Thumb." Vendetta reconceives Suck-a-Thumb as a distraught, tearful toddler consigned to his bedroom corner. His severed bloody thumbs lie before him. Their horror is further evinced by the enlarged scolding manicured nails of his otherwise invisible mother. A single inset colored painting by Vendetta reveals another tailor, this one naked with zippered face and button eyes, and covered in part with pins and needles from which blood flows. This handsomely designed adult edition presents Struwwelpeter in four parts: an insightful scholarly introduction by children's literature authority Jack Zipes that details the iconic Struwwelpeter, the success of this most famous of children's books, the history of its author, and the changing vision of discipline and correction; fifteen verse stories illustrated by Vendetta; the complete original English-language edition colored in Hoffman's comforting pastels of pink, yellow, and blue; and a propaganda parody, titled Struwwelhitler, published in England during World War II. In art and verse there is more than enough here to satisfy anyone's taste for crime and punishment. s.p.b.
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