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Happy birthday, dear Beatrix

art by Beatrix Potter

On this 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter‘s birth, I count myself lucky to have met a handful of people who knew her in her later years, when she was most decidedly not Beatrix Potter, but Mrs. William Heelis. By the time she married at age 47, she was beginning to put the “little books” behind […]

Jeremy Fisher, rock star

jeremy fisher rocks out

We recently received Peter Rabbit: Jeremy Fisher Rocks Out (Penguin/Warne, May 2015), part of a series of paperback picture books adapted from the Peter Rabbit TV show. Jeremy might be rockin’ out, but I’d bet Beatrix is rolling over. (Not that she’s likely ever stopped rolling over.) For more on Beatrix Potter, including her ties […]

Beatrix Potter and the Horn Book

Emma Thompson's new Peter Rabbit adventure next to Beatrix Potter's original.

We just posted “Peter Rabbit and the Tale of the Fierce Bad Publisher,” Caroline Fraser’s excellent article about Emma Thompson’s The Further Adventures of Peter Rabbit and Frederick Warne’s methods for getting around copyright laws in order to keep protecting its cash cow. Or bunny. (Cash bunny? Buck bunny?) As someone who occasionally needs to […]

Beatrix Potter resources

Here is a short list culled from the myriad resources available, as well as a list of the books Potter wrote.  Web resources Beatrix Potter Society www.beatrixpottersociety.org.uk/ The Potter Society has a quarterly newsletter and organizes regional gatherings both in the UK and abroad. Every other summer, they host a one-week tour and a study […]

Miss Potter fact and fiction

miss_potter_poster_300x436

(Spoiler alert: If you haven’t seen Miss Potter and you do not know the full story of Beatrix and Norman, stop after number 7.) 1. In the film, we see a ten-year-old Beatrix telling her brother the story of Hunca Munca (The Tale of Two Bad Mice) and we see a drawing of Jemima Puddle-Duck […]

Miss Potter movie review

miss_potter_poster_300x436

Children’s literature enthusiasts have been anticipating the opening of Miss Potter with a mixture of amusement, dread, and hope. Amusement that anyone would think Potter’s life was exciting enough for a film, dread that she could be misrepresented as glaringly as she was by her first biographer, and hope that a wider audience might finally […]

Beatrix and Bertha

Bertha Mahony Miller waiting for the train to Boston, circa 1950.

Beatrix Potter’s resistance to critics and fans writing about her books is well documented. In 1939 Margaret Lane, who would later become Potter’s first biographer, received a classic brush-off: So I wrote to Beatrix Potter, as politely and respectfully as I knew how, telling her of my lifelong pleasure in her work, and my admiration, […]

Beatrix and Bertha

Letter from Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter’s resistance to critics and fans writing about her books is well documented. In 1939 Margaret Lane, who would later become Potter’s first biographer, received a classic brush-off: So I wrote to Beatrix Potter, as politely and respectfully as I knew how, telling her of my lifelong pleasure in her work, and my admiration, […]

Peter Says Please

Beatrix Potter mice illustration

In August 1927 the Horn Book carried an appeal for help in preserving the Lake District countryside in the names of two eminent English countryfolk, Peter Rabbit and Beatrix Potter. In the illustrated letter, Peter pleads mutely, like a dog begging for a bone. But they do not come empty-handed, says Potter, offering a signed […]

Art from Beatrix Potter

art by Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter (Mrs. William Heelis) sent this drawing and verse to Horn Book’s founding editor, Bertha Mahony Miller. Read more about Beatrix and Bertha and their friendship.