Baby reads “Alle Kinder: Ein ABC der Schadenfreude”

I picked this one up on Oranienstrasse after a very relaxing morning at Bateau Ivre. I wasn’t really thinking about buying my daughter books, more about the tartine I had just eaten and how happy I was that Bateau, at least, had not changed from when we first went there six years ago. Yes, this little bit of Oranianstrasse is still more or less the same if you can block out the desperately hip, American study abroad students. Of course, there were a few more strollers, too.

With this warm-fuzzy for Berlin feeling, I picked up this…

von Anke Kuhl und Martin Schmitz-Kuhl

Its just so German.  How could I pass it up?

The ABCs come from the first names of children who are the object of schadenfreude. So, no, its not really going to help you children learn the alphabet. What you get are  sweetly illustrated, yet dark couplets each telling a little story about a different child. Some of them – the ones I noticed while flipping through the book at the store – are innocent enough. Take the following, for example:

"Alle Kinder spielen im Zauberwald - Außer Dorothee die holt die böse Fee" or "All the children play in the enchanted forest - except for Dorothy who is captured by an evil fairy"

There’s no such thing as enchanted forest! A fairy isn’t going to kidnap you! Ok, next one.

"Alle Kinder sehen den Stier - Außer Elise die rennt über die Wiese" or "All the kids see the steer - except for Elise who's running through field"

Then there are some that are a bit darker like the one above. I suppose there is a chance that Elise escapes the bull. I mean, there are people in Spain who do this every year, right? She could totally escape unharmed! No, we all know that kid is getting gored. Although, maybe there’s a chance she’ll survive. On other pages, children die or are dead (“Alle Kinder freuen sich des Lebens – Außer Torben der ist gestorben”). Once I read through the whole thing, it became obvious that its a book for older children if its for children at all. I even checked the ratings to see what people (ie: real Germans) were saying about it. A few reviewers mentioned that they love it, its humurous and real. One man even reads it with his four year old.

I read it with my 19 month old, because you know what? The rhythm of the text makes her happy and she likes the pictures. For right now, that’s all that matters.


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