Saturday, 18 October 2014

Eulenspiegel rides again: funny, subversive stories for reading aloud

If you're looking about for a funny, subversive book to read aloud or share with your children, I'm going to unashamedly recommend one of mine. They are re-tellings of the German 'Till Eulenspiegel' stories. They are about a comic, trickster figure of peasant origins who plays tricks on those 'above' him in society, artisans, landowners, dukes and university professors (!). They date from the late fifteenth, early sixteenth centuries. As full of life as Chaucer and Robin Hood. I've adapted them, retold them and put them in a 'frame' of my brother and I getting bored on a trip to Germany when we were boys and being given some 'medicine' to stop us being 'naughty'. Here's how it's billed in the Walker Books online catalogue

Till Owlyglass (Till Eulenspiegel) is a boy who was special from the day he was baptised three times. But not in a good way. Not in a way his parents liked. He was always in trouble for his rudeness and practical jokes, and grew up to be the most outrageous trickster in Germany. Everyone told storie…