"Struwwelpeter" describes a boy who does not groom himself properly and is consequently unpopular.
In "Die gar traurige Geschichte mit dem Feuerzeug" ("The Dreadful Story of the Matches"), a girl plays with matches and burns to death.
In "Die Geschichte von den schwarzen Buben" ("The Story of the Black Boys"), "Nikolas" catches three boys teasing a dark-skinned boy. To teach them a lesson, he dips the three boys into black ink.
In "Die Geschichte vom Daumenlutscher" ("The Story of the Thumb-Sucker"), a mother warns her son not to suck his thumbs. However, when she leaves the house he resumes his thumb sucking, until a roving tailor appears and cuts off his thumbs with giant scissors.
"Die Geschichte vom Suppen-Kaspar" ("The Story of the Soup-Kaspar") begins as Augustus, a healthy, strong boy, proclaims that he will no longer eat his soup. Over the next five days he wastes away and dies.
"Die Geschichte von Hans Guck-in-die-Luft" ("The Story of Johnny Head-in-Air") is about a boy who habitually fails to watch where he's walking. One day he walks into a river; he is soon rescued, but his school bag drifts away.
These stories were written and illustrated by the German physician and psychiatrist Heinrich Hoffmann.
Hoffmann wrote Struwwelpeter in response to a lack of good children's books. Intending to buy a picture book as a Christmas present for his 3-year-old son, Hoffmann instead wrote and illustrated his own book, which he published in 1845.
Struwwelpeter is one of the most successful German children's books and has been translated into more than 45 languages.