Bad Children and Cautionary Verse

There is a certain irony that most historic children's cautionary verse is considered wholly unsuitable for contemporary kids to read. Imagine the outraged views of the library committee (we'll soon be having the imagine the library as well) considering Hoffman's Cautionary Verse for Children, originally published as Lustige Geschichten und drollige Bilder mit 15 schön kolorierten Tafeln für Kinder von 3-6 Jahren (Funny Stories and Whimsical Pictures with 15 Beautifully Coloured Panels for Children Aged 3 to 6). This collection of poems entitled Bad Children and Cautionary Verse contains some adult-only poems, but thankfully Max has also produced a collection of cautionary poems for children which for once really is suitable for children.

Awful Ermintrude

A wilfully destructive girl, Ermintrude, is exiled for her various misdeeds.

Stranger Danger

A gruesome tale of a tortured teen who failed to heed the warnings about getting into cars with maniacal madmen.

The Death of Eric

A boy who would only speak in rhyming verse would be enough to send anyone round the bend.

Hungry Arthur

A cautionary poem about Arthur, who ate literally anything and everything and couldn't be persuaded to stop. Eventually, inevitably, he went...

Skinny Vinnie

The antithesis of Hungry Arthur, Skinny Vinnie is a child who eats and eats, but still stays thin.

Eat Your Greens

There is impeccable logic to Gretchen Jerusalem Montague Deans's refusal to eat greens, but sometimes being right is not enough.

Shoe Boy

The first of our poems with illustrations by the author, which add a great deal of colour to proceedings.

Bad Joseph

A tortuous tale in which the mischievous Joseph's exile to Spain is just the start of a series of calamitous events.

Bad-Breath Ronald

Perhaps the most Hoffmanesque cautionary verse in Max's initial collection, recalcitrant Ronald is the author of his own downfall.

The Tragic Story of Barclay, the Bank Boy

A salutary tale about a much yearned for child who is acquired and then lost in most unusual circumstances.

A Question of Parenting

Arthur Murray is a terrible child who is a long way down the slippery slope and accelerating fast.

The Bad Mother

A boy's dreams are treacherously dashed by his terrible mother. It appears you can’t ask your mother for anything!

The Horseshoe

A torrid tale of superstition set against the backdrop of a disfunctional family.

The Bad Luck Kid

In the life of Jonathan Swell, the bad luck kid, if something can go wrong it most certainly will.

Afternoon Love

Rude, but uproariously funny, the poem's sapphic schoolgirl shenanigans make it sadly unsuitable for kids.