German book for children/Deutsches Kinderbuch

Someone – in the USA? – has scanned the pages of a German book explaining to children where babies come from. Judging from the comments on some blogs, it may be having an effect for good or bad on how the Germans are seen in the USA.

The earliest version I found was at planetdan on October 14 (click on the pages to turn over). Somewhat disingenuously it says ‘I’ve no idea where this came from … If anybody knows who originally scanned this…’ without saying where the blogger got it from.

Metafilter carried the story on October 23. I was informed by email by the anonymous editor of Blawg Review* (not to be confused with the blawg review), who linked to the version in Ann Althouse’s blog.
Points of concern include the hammer in the doctor’s hand at delivery and the use of some words. For instance, Schlitz (slit) is used as a word for small children, to introduce more adult vocabulary, but one commenter finds it typical that ‘Anglo-Saxon words’ are cruder than words derived from Latin. Here’s another comment:

bq. I don’t know what’s European, but I guess it’s very American to find it icky. Precisely because it’s so healthy. It goes with Birkenstocks and eating plenty of fiber.

All those in the pictures seem to have their eyes wide open all the time. One commenter thinks the baby looks like Kenny in South Park. I think this book is probably ten or twenty years old. There are a number of such books on (search for Aufklärungsbuch in Google, for instance), but the cover illustrations are in different styles.

*Blawg Review started in April 2005. It has a weekly round-up by a guest law blogger. It has an address at as well as the blogspot one, but that seems to be down at the moment.

8 thoughts on “German book for children/Deutsches Kinderbuch

  1. As others have commented at various websites, this is just so 1972. These people look like they just got back from volunteering at the co-op after tending their community garden. Then they drive to the clinic in their Love Bug.

    Gender clichees and general outdatedness aside, what I find interesting is that the author goes into extreme detail about the Schlitz/Scheide + Säcklein/Hodensack, but what about page 7?! I assume small children are at least remotely familiar with their own genitals, but what the heck is this “Nabelschnur”? And Mutterkuchen?! How am I supposed to know what those are at age 5 (or whatever)?

  2. Thaddäus Troll is much older, isn’t it? I would need to see the book to know. There is a Thaddäus Troll book on this topic in print, but with different illustrations. Was that Troll’s style? I’m not convinced.

    ‘Just so 1972’? That’s the point – it probably *is* from 1972. So why does an American blogger put it online, pretending he doesn’t know where it comes from, without any details? Good point about the placenta and umbilical cord, of course. I suppose the author couldn’t think of another word for those!

  3. No, it’s not Troll’s style. That’s why I wrote “very poor” copy. Maybe I should have used “knock off” instead …

  4. Oh, sorry, I didn’t understand what you meant by ‘copy’ – I thought you were referring to the pictures, but they looked clear enough to me.
    Do they not have this kind of book in the USA,I wonder? The person who sent me the link said he didn’t even know if such a book was legal in Germany. I didn’t see any state secrets in there!

  5. “That’s the point – it probably *is* from 1972.” Right, which is why I mentioned it! I really did mean that I think it’s that old.

    Mutterkuchen is a weird word. If I were 5, my ears would perk right up when I heard this. I wonder if they avoid more detailed descriptions about that and the umbilical cord because of, well, the whole blood issue. What could one really say: it’s a big gob of blood and tissue that comes out after the baby? Too scary for kids I guess.

  6. Looks like a perfectly sensible book to me. I find it amusing that some of the commenters on the American blog thought it was “weird” and slightly shocking.

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