Sedm mamlasu/Die sieben Schlemihle

One of the schlemihles

Text by Eduard Petiska, illustrations by Miroslav Sasek. Originally published in Czech as Sedm mamlasu, translated into German as Die sieben Schlemihle by Peter Lux. The German edition was published 1950 by derkinderbuchverlag, Dresden/Munich.

In the notes to Zoo ist das Leben, Sasek is described as having illustrated children's books since 1939. This is one of two pre-This is titles (alongside Benjamin a tisic morskych dasu Kapitana Barnabase). Information has been kindly sent in by Ulrike, a London-based Sasek fan.

Eduard Petiska (1924-) is a well-respected Czech children's author, who was also responsible for books such as The Golem, and How the mole got his car, famously illustrated by Zdenek Miler.

It's hard to translate the title exactly - Ulrike describes a "schlemihle" as an old-fashioned word for a silly or old person. The seven boys have some crazy mix-ups like finding an egg in the woods and thinking it's a wolf. Maybe not the most exciting story but the pictures look wonderful anyway and it's very interesting to see such an early title.

If anyone has any more information about this title please get in touch.