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Deutsche Kinderbücher - AIBU or are a lot of them crap?

(53 Posts)
WidowWadman Sat 28-Jan-12 22:16:30

Talking about younger children's books mostly. Once they're old enough to get James Kruess/Astrid Lindgren (translations, I know, but still) and Michael Ende, there's a whole world of brilliant things to read, but for a 3 year old?

Pixie Bücher are dire and badly written and make me want to stab my eyes out - most of the Sandmann-Gutenacht Geschichten anthologies we've been given by well-meaning relatives are the same. And I simply hate the innaneness of Laura's Stern.

We've got a handful which are ok (in my opinion, and my daughter's):

Die Geschichte vom Kleinen Maulwurf, der wissen wollte wer ihm auf den Kopf gemacht hat.
Frederick (I think it's actually American, but we've got the translation - mice stories, quite sweet)
A few non-fiction things about farming and wood animals and my own translation of Peace at bloody last by Jill godihateyou Murphy

But we need more - I used to do a lot of stehgreif translation of her English books - so reading them in German to her when they actually were in English, but now that she's starting to learn to read I can;t do that anymore, as it's confusing her - she keeps wanting to identify letters and words

So what books can I get for her? She's 3, and loves funny stories which have a little bit of rhyme or toying with language in them, or where she can take over parts and shout them out loud?

Ouluckyduck Sat 28-Jan-12 22:24:21

I'm so with you, they are dire. The only thing they do well is Sachbuecher with lift the flp things. Translations are your best bet really - Julia Donaldson maybe? Also do you know Mama Muh and Petterson und Findus? I also read a lot of traditional Maerchen with mine.

WidowWadman Sat 28-Jan-12 22:43:14

I've heard about Petterson and Findus - but from people who also buy Pixie-Buecher, so was a little wary. But I shall check it out, thanks :-)

Daughter is a huge Julia Donaldson Fan - we have the Grufallo in translation, but I was hoping to find something more original (I really try to avoid translations as they often just don't live up to the original no matter what the source or target language).

It's weird, there's so many good ones, for ages 6 and over, but the only really good German authored ones for younger children I can think of is the Maulwurf.

Ouluckyduck Sat 28-Jan-12 22:47:20

German story books for young children are always so in your face didaktisch which makes them so booooooring. Will have another think though.

Ouluckyduck Sat 28-Jan-12 22:48:41

Thought of one : Mimi books by Dories Doerrie

Ouluckyduck Sat 28-Jan-12 22:51:06

Lieve Baeten Die kleine schlaue Hexe

WidowWadman Sat 28-Jan-12 22:57:57

Oh, Mimi looks good. Thanks - keep the suggestions coming. I wonder whether I should try her with Janosch - they should be "young" enough for her. Not sure how well they've aged.

Ouluckyduck Sat 28-Jan-12 23:00:37

this is nice

Personally I can't stand Janosch, and my children don't either, but it's worth a try.

Ouluckyduck Sat 28-Jan-12 23:01:21

Don't like him

Ouluckyduck Sat 28-Jan-12 23:02:45

I know they are no fun, but my dds loved Conni books.

WidowWadman Sat 28-Jan-12 23:04:58

Oh, I loathe Conni. I really wonder what children see in her? The Helme Heine book looks nice.

Ouluckyduck Sat 28-Jan-12 23:05:33

this sums up the German approach beautifully - look at the categories!

Ouluckyduck Sat 28-Jan-12 23:07:32

I think it's just because it shows Alltag as they know it, but with the added bonus of Conni always getting/winning everything which in reality doesn't happen.

WidowWadman Sat 28-Jan-12 23:10:28

Exactly! That's what they're like.

All I want books to teach my child at the moment is that they're an enjoyable past time - without having them spell out that there's lessons to be learnt. Guess I better stick to the "zum Lachen" category and hope no life lessons have sneaked in

mousymouseprice Sat 28-Jan-12 23:11:12

astrid lindren has nice fairy tale stories
also good mein bilderbuchschatz a nice selection of shorter and longer illustrated stories.

WidowWadman Sat 28-Jan-12 23:14:36

Some book titles not ideal in an english as dominant language environment

WidowWadman Sat 28-Jan-12 23:17:50

Ouluckyduck Sat 28-Jan-12 23:21:39


noramum Mon 30-Jan-12 14:46:42

Thanks, it seems I am not the only one struggling to get decent ones. I am German and I normally just buy what I know from my childhood.

Books we currently read (DD is 4.5):

Astrid Lindgren
Das Kleine Gespenst
Peterchens Mondfahrt
Grimms Maerchen, the proper old-fashioned version
Biene Maja
Kasimir (a Biber, sorry don't know the English name, who bakes, paints etc. Not long but DD loves him)
Der Drache Kokusnuss (DD is not keen though)
Lauras Stern

We actually bought The Magic Treehouse in German.

What I find frustrating in German bookshops is the attitude of the sales persons. DD always was advanced in hearing stories, we gave her Grimm for her 3rd birthday. But as soon as you tell them the age they steer you towards picture books and ignore that you say your child wants more story not just a couple of sentences with a big picture.

And: I also hate Conni, the perfect, never making a mistake, all-singing-and-dancing Conni, the one who knows everything and is allowed to have every hobby under the sun. The mother who never moans, has a bad day and is always so sickly sweet.... Did you ever listen to one of the Storytapes, grrrr.

mousymouseprice Mon 30-Jan-12 15:32:36

my ds also like benjamin blümchen, but the stories are ever-so-educating.
a big hit is Käpt'n Sharky
and yes yes to the picture books and the attitude that children should not read a word themselves before they are at least 6 yo.

WidowWadman Mon 30-Jan-12 16:07:21

I have just downloaded der Drache Kokosnuss onto my kindle, and a chapter at a time it seems a success.

HopeForTheBest Wed 01-Feb-12 17:05:27

I thought it was just me!
They are dire, so badly written, so matter of fact, no lovely description, no fantasy, no imagination, it makes me want to scream.

Do agree that they do Sachbücher very well though, and we love the Wimmelbücher by Rotraut Susanne Berner.

BabyGiraffes Wed 01-Feb-12 22:16:07

Actually can't see your problem. My 2 year old loves wieso weshalb warum junior books and my 4 year old is still quite keen on conni books. I have more of a problem with English children's books...

admylin Thu 02-Feb-12 08:23:16

My dc mostly had English books but I can recommend one of the few German books we had on our shelf which was
Ritter Rost, they loved it and listened to the songs loads. We borrowed quite a few of the other Ritter Rost stories from the library too.
Later dd loved Der kleine Vampir - I read them to her and then she listened to them on CD.

HopeForTheBest Thu 02-Feb-12 10:11:15

BabyGiraffes the Wieso Weshalb Warum books are Sachbücher, which, as has been mentioned, Germans do very well.

We also occasionally read a Conni books, but they are so straightlaced - there's no zing!

It's the imaginative, well-written and fun books that seem to be missing.

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