Publisher: Pushkin Children's
Number of Pages: 64
Publishing: February 11th, 2020
Source: Edelweiss Plus
"Many stories have been told
Of children who were good as gold,
But these two boys played darker games:
Max and Moritz were their names. "
From Goodreads: "Lock up your chickens! Look out for the bugs in your bed! And check that there's nothing explosive in your teacher's pipe!
Meet Max and Moritz, the infamously naughty boys whose sole purpose in life is to terrify their neighborhood. There's nothing these two pranksters like more than causing mayhem! Their inexhaustible talent for mischief brings chaos and comedy to every page of these delightfully wicked stories."Max and Moritz was first published in Germany in 1865 and is considered to be a children's classic. I can still remember the first time that I read it, I had to be about eleven years old. My german cousin had a copy and let me borrow it. What struck me most at the time was the whimsical illustrations and the two rambunctious boys. Not only was it great practice for me in reading german, but it was also a highly entertaining story. The book stuck with me for many years, although I'd long forgotten the title. It was something that I'd always wanted to go back and reread one day, but being a german story and not recalling its name, it was a bit more difficult to locate. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to see this new translation in English that is coming out in February.
As a kid, I found Max and Moritz's antics amusing. Today they'd probably be considered the worst kind of tricksters, pulling pranks on their neighbors who are oblivious to the boy's misdeeds. They take glee in stealing the chickens Widow Palmer is cooking, and delight in almost drowning the tailor. Again by today's standards, their actions would be considered very mean spirited, intended more to harm versus being playful. Yet, I still really enjoyed my re-read. I really liked the rhyming of the English translation and that it was similar to the structure of the original German. It had the same sort of flow and despite a few changes in word use and names, I'd say it stays pretty true to the original. There's an author note at the back explaining the changes that were made. The illustrations by Wilhelm Busch still had the same whimsical quality that I liked when I was younger and I was happy to see that the original German text was included at the back of the book. Although I was a bit rusty with my German, it was still fun to be able to take a crack at it. Overall, the story still resonated with me. I believe the theme of the story was meant to illustrate that crime doesn't pay, especially given the manner in which the boys meet their untimely demise at the end of the book. So be warned that it might be a bit much for some children.