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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Max and Moritz
by Wilhelm Busch
Age Range: 9-11
Max and Moritz’s sole purpose in life is to terrify their neighbourhood, laughing at all those who stick to the rules. “Playing tricks on everyone, that’s the way to make life fun!” There is nothing they like more than causing mayhem! Their inexhaustible talent for mischief in these seven pranks brings chaos wherever they go.
This mock cautionary tale, written by German humourist, poet, illustrator and painter Wilhelm Busch, was published in 1865. It is one of the most popular German children’s books of all time with editions in over 190 languages. This edition contains a new translation by Mark Ledsom, the original German text and a note from the translator at the back of the book.
As Ledsom says there are certainly no moral lessons to be found in the tales especially as the boys come to rather a sticky end – “Given its dark tones, some will perhaps question whether Max & Moritz is even a children’s book.” The first prank might also be a cause for concern and parents of young animal-loving children should certainly read through it first.
With its pithy translation and Busch’s unforgettable comic-style illustrations, Max & Moritz is a wickedly funny, dark comedy classic now available for a whole new audience to enjoy.