Every country has its little heroes, the hidden ones. People born in that country know them all, the heroes of their childhood. Doesn’t matter if enjoyed reading, listening or watching, everybody knows them and when nostalgia comes up during a conversation you might want to know what they are actually talking about. We therefore prepared a list with Germany’s most famous childhood heroes and short explanations. Apart from gaining a little “insider knowledge” you can improve your listening comprehension with our video examples. Enjoy!
“Sandmann, lieber Sandmann, es ist noch nicht soweit!”
First published in 1959, the Sandmännchen is probably the oldest German TV-Show for children. It passes every evening at 6.50pm and has a duration of only 10 minutes, in which the character of the Sandmännchen visits the children and tells them stories before they fall asleep. The Sandmann is a literary character scattering sand in the children’s eyes that lets them fall asleep and gives them sweet dreams. The TV-show became a ritual in many families’ houses and you hardly find a person that is not capable of at least humming the introductory melody. Even after more than 50 years, the developers still stick to their old format, which is why the show has a taste of old, classic movies. Call it nostalgic or not, the Sandmännchen is still as popular as it was back in its old days.
Die Sendung mit der Maus
Die Sendung mit der Maus (The show with the mouse): another very popular TV-Show for children is the Sendung mit der Maus. This show passes every Sunday at 11.30am since 1971 on German television. It is a combination of cartoons and documentary, easing complex topics to explain them to children. That’s very its slogan “Lach- und Sachgeschichten” comes from: “Lachgeschichten” are stories to laugh about, cartoons that are made for entertainment, while “Sachgeschichten” are mediating knowledge, making up recent or general topics for children. The intro is also interesting: Introducing today’s topics, the intro is once played in German and then repeated once again in another language, resolving in the end the question, which language it was.
Watch the latest episode:
Benjamin Blümchen is the name of a famous German animated TV-Show about an elephant that has the ability to speak and communicate. The episodes show Benjamin’s adventures with his friends (most of them are human beings). This TV-show is only made for entertainment and based on stories by Elfie Donnelly. It was first created in 1977, at this time still on cassette tape. Later on, the TV-show and various movies about the talking elephant were created.
From the same producer as Benjamin Blümchen, the stories of Bibi Blocksberg were first published in 1980 on cassette tape. More than 100 episodes tell the story of the young witch Bibi Blocksberg and the adventures she experiences with her friends, her mother Barbara (also a witch), and her father Bernhard. Beside the cassette tapes, Bibi Blocksberg was published in form of books, TV-shows, and movies. Later on, the story was expanded to Bibi und Tina, telling the adventures of Bibi and her friend Tina, who is living on equestrian centre. These stories were mainly favoured by girls, as they deal with horses and the secrets of two best friends.
Pumuckl is another very famous character of children’s entertainment is Pumuckl. Starting out as a radio play about a little kobold with red hair, invisible to everyone but his Master Eder, it also became a very successful TV-show. The stories deal mostly with Pumuckl’s pranks, that always lead him into trouble. Master Eder is then the one to make up and calm down the things again. He gets mad due to Pumuckl’s pranks, but they almost always reconcile. There are only few episodes that end in Pumuckl’s punishment.
First published in the beginning of the 20th century, the stories of the bee Maja and her friends like the fly Puck became especially famous with the in the 1980s published TV-show. However, the other characters like the grasshopper Flip and another bee named Willi, that every German child knows, weren’t part of the original story, but added during the production of the TV-show. The shows deals with Maja’s adventures in the nature.
Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer
Published in 1960, the children’s book written by Michael Ende was more than a success. It was translated into 33 languages. Later on it became available on cassette tape and the “Augsburger Puppenkiste”, well known for its use of puppets only, made several films out of the story.
Janosch – Oh, wie schön ist Panama: Janosch is the pseudonym of Horst Eckert, a German author and cartoonist. “Oh, wie schön ist Panama” is a children’s book published in 1978. The tells the story of a little tiger and a little bear that want to go to find Panama, thinking that this was the place of their dreams. On their way they meet other animals that don’t know where Panama is and thus tell them the wrong directions. After a long journey it turns out that the little tiger and bear have been running in circles and their destinations is their old home. But during their long absence the house, the garden and the region have changed and they believe that they have finally arrived in Panama. They move in the house again and are happy to be in the place of their dreams. The story’s moral is that you might not see what you got until you see it from the distance, or, with Janosch’s words: „Jeder lebte schon immer im Paradies, hat es nur nicht gewusst.”
„Jeder lebte schon immer im Paradies, hat es nur nicht gewusst.” – Janosch
Published 2 Dec 2015 by Anna Duckwitz
Updated 22 May 2017 by Janine Belz