Oh, How I Love Jemima Puddle-duck!
Beatrix Potter’s (1866-1943) words and illustrations grace the pages of my go-to baby shower gift. (Well, that and Winnie the Pooh!) Her stories have entertained generations of children, ballet patrons and television watchers.
She first published The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1901 and went on to publish over 23 books. They continue to sell all over the world and have been retold in ballet, film and TV animation.
Ms. Potter worked as an illustrator prior to her writing career. She was initially drawn to scientific illustration and mycology. She also studied book illustration where her tastes leaned toward fantasy and fairy tales. Most of her illustrations featured her own pets – mice, rabbits, kittens and guinea pigs. She then sold some drawings of her rabbit to another author to illustrate his book in the 1890s.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit began as a story she told her eldest son Noel when she ran out of things to say in a letter home to him. She initially published it privately for her family and friends at her own expense. A family friend shopped it again to the publishing houses and found a firm that was willing to take it on. It was officially published in 1902 and was met with immediate success.
Ms. Potter also created and patented a Peter Rabbit doll in 1902, following this with other spin-off merchandise like blankets, figurines, tea sets, wall paper, painting books and games. Talk about a great business woman! 🙂
Ms. Potter was also a sheep farmer and conservationist. Over the years she purchased sixteen farms in an effort to conserve the land. She continued to write stories and draw throughout her life.
I invite you to go back to your childhood and pick up one or all of her books. They are also available in one hardcover volume. For those who like to reminesce…
The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902)
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (1903)
The Tailor of Gloucester (1903)
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (1904)
The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904)
The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle (1905)
The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan (1905)
The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher (1906)
The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit (1906)
The Story of Miss Moppet (1906)
The Tale of Tom Kitten (1907)
The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck (1908)
The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or, The Roly-Poly Pudding (1908)
The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies (1909)
The Tale of Ginger and Pickles (1909)
The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse (1910)
The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes (1911)
The Tale of Mr. Tod (1912)
The Tale of Pigling Bland (1913)
Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes (1917)
The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse (1918)
Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes (1922)
The Tale of Little Pig Robinson (1930)
The Fairy Caravan (1929)
Sister Anne (1932) illustrated by Katherine Sturges
Wag-by-Wall (1944) decorations by J.J. Lankes
The Tale of the Faithful Dove (1955) illustrated by Marie Angel
The Sly Old Cat (written 1906, published 1971)
The Tale of Tuppenny (1973) illustrated by Marie Angel