The story of Johnny Head-in-Air “The Shaggy Peter” by Heinrich Hoffmann
Extracts from my reinterpretation of
the children’s book classic on the occasion
of Heinrich Hoffmanns's 200th anniversary
Work-in -Progress Exebition
hfg/ Prof. Michael Jordan/
Prof. Georg “Atak”
"Die drollige Geschichte vom Hans Guck-in-
die-Luft. Alles erfand und beschrieb der
lustige Reimerich Kinderlieb. Fein illustriert,
mit Verlaub hat's die liebe Silke Daub."
As he trudg’d along to school,
It was always Johnny’s rule
To be looking at the sky,
And the clouds that floated by
But what just before him lay,
In his way,
Johnny never thought about
So that every one cried out
-“Look at little Johnny there,
Little Johnny Head-in-Air!”
Running just in Johnny’s way,
Came a little dog one day
Johnny’s eyes were still astray
Up on high, in the sky
And he never heard them cry
-“Johnny, mind, the dog is nigh!”
Down they fell with such a thump,
Dog and Johnny in a lump!
Once, with head as high as ever,
Johnny walk’d beside the river.
Johnny watch’d the swallows trying
Which was cleverest at flying.
OH! What fun!
Johnny watch’d the bright round sun
Going in and coming out
This was all he thought about.
So he strode on, only think!
To the river’s very brink,
Where the bank was high and steep,
And the water very deep.
And the fishes, in a row,
Stared to see him coming so.
One step more! OH! Sad to tell!
Headlong in poor Johnny fell,
And the fishes, in dismay,
Wagg’d their tails and ran away.
There lay johnny on his face,
With his nice red writing-case
But, as they were passsing by,
Two strong men had heard him cry
And, with sticks, these two strong men
Hook'd poor Johnny out again.
OH! you should have seen him shiver
When they pull’d him from the river
He was in a sorry plight! Dripping wet,
And such a fright!
Wet all over, everywhere,
Clothes, and arms, and face, and hair!
Johnny never will forget
What it is to be so wet.
And the fishes, one, two, three,
Are come back again, you see
Up they came the moment after,
To enjoy the fun and laughter.
Each popp'd out his little head
And, to tease poor Johnny, said:
"Silly little Johnny, look
You have lost your writing-book!”
Paper-collage and acryl
42 x 59 cm
Handwriting font designed in Fontlab.
In the original German version Johnny is called Hans.
Bureau for Visual Affairs
2009 all rights reserved