My dear Noel,
I don't know what to write to you, so I shall tell you a story about four little rabbits whose names were – Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter.
The year was 1893. The place, Eastwood house in Scotland. Beatrix Potter was writing to the sick five-year old son of her former governess Annie Moore. One day in September she wrote him "a story about four little rabbits," complete with illustrations.
Of course Noel couldn't know that he was the first child to ever read The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Beatrix Potter herself didn't know that her letter to Noel would become the story she was most remembered for. Though she had sold drawings previously and was determined to be published, her focus was mycology. She made several attempts to be taken seriously in the scientific community but was rebuffed because she was both untrained and (perhaps a worse offense) a woman.
Science's loss was literature's gain. It was 1900 when she finally decided to turn some of her letters into illustrated stories. "Little books" were in fashion that year and that's how she wanted the Peter Rabbit books printed. But publishers turned her down, so she took out her savings and had them printed herself.
They were a success and finally Fredericke Warne & Co caught on and offered to publish the "bunny books" (as they called them) with color illustrations. Soon there followed, at Beatrix Potter's insistence, a stuffed toy and all sorts of merchandise, the first of its kind to be based on a picture book character. Since then The Tale of Peter Rabbit has never been out of print.
Part of its enduring success was based, at least initially, on her persistence and clever marketing skills. But Beatrix Potter was an excellent storyteller. She had a deep respect for both children and animals, and its this quality that shines through her stories. They have appealed to children for over a hundred years, and they're still as relevant and entertaining today.
- Tale of Peter Rabbit
- Tale of Squirrel Nutkin
- Tailor of Gloucester
- Tale of Benjamin Bunny
- Tale of Two Bad Mice
- Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle
- Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher
- Tale of Tom Kitten
- Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck
- Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies
- Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse
- Tale of Timmy Tiptoes
- Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse
- Tale of Mr. Tod
- Tale of Pigling Bland
- Tale of Samuel Whiskers, or Roly-Poly Pudding
- Tale of the Pie and the Patty Pan
- Tale of Ginger and Pickles
- Tale of Little Pig Robinson
- Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit
- Story of Miss Moppet
- Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes
- Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes
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