Students in Julia Baker’s German Childhood and Children’s Literature class will perform their interpretation of one of Germany’s longest, bestselling children’s books, Der Struwwelpeter, or Shaggy Peter, on Wednesday, May 2, at 6 p.m. at the Backdoor Playhouse.
The performance is free and open to the public, and children are especially welcome.
Heinrich Hoffmann wrote Struwwelpeter in reaction to the lack of good children's books. Intending to buy a picture book as a Christmas present for his three-year-old son, Hoffmann instead wrote and illustrated his own book.
The book comprises 10 illustrated and rhymed stories, mostly about children. Each has a clear moral that demonstrates the disastrous consequences of misbehavior in an exaggerated way.
Hoffmann was persuaded by friends to first publish the book anonymously, under another title, in 1845. It was not until the third edition in 1858 that the book was published under the title Struwwelpeter.
The book has been translated into several languages. In 1891, Mark Twain created one translation of the book into English. Due to copyright issues, Twain's "Slovenly Peter" was not published until after his death in 1935. In 2006, Fantagraphics Books published the first completely digital version of Struwwelpeter, reinterpreted and illustrated by Bob Staake.
Struwwelpeter was republished in English by Dover in 2010.