<h1>The Children's Nursery and its Traditions</h1>

Beatrix Potter's Children's Books

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BEATRIX POTTER is probably one of the best know and loved children’s authors ever. Her books had been the nursery companions to several generations of children and I myself can remember being enchanted by The Tale of Samuel Whiskers, read to me by my mother. Here you will find a substantial collection of 20 of her best loved works.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit(1902) - was the first of Beatrix Potter's books to be published, in 1902, and concerns  the naughty Peter Rabbit and his adventure in Mr McGregor's garden. The first issue was self published with black and white illustrations and distributed to friends and family. It as then taken up by Warne and published with colour illustrations.

The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (1903) – originated from  Beatrix’s experiences watching Squirrels she saw daily while holidaying near Derwent water in the Lake District.

The Tailor of Gloucester (1903) Was based on a supposedly true life story of a tailor in the City of Gloucester who left a waistcoat unfinished one Friday evening, and was amazed to find it completed when he returned on Monday morning. The waistcoat was actually finished by an assistant, giving his master a helping hand. In her book, Beatrix replaced the assistant with talking mice, and to add charm to the story, had it happen on Christmas Eve. (22 of Beatrix's original drawings from this book may be seen in the Tate Gallery, London.)

The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (1904) Benjamin is, the cousin of Peter and together they get into all sorts of trouble in Mr McGregor's garden, finally being rescued by Mr Benjamin Bunny, young Benjamin's father.

The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904) The dedication in this book 'To W.M.L.W. The little girl with the dolls house', refers to Winifred Warne, niece of Norman Warne, Beatrix's editor. Beatrix and Norman were, by now becoming close friends, and developing a romantic attachment. The doll's house was the home of two dolls, Lucinda and Jane, who were troubled by the 'Two Bad Mice', Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca.

The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle (1905) Although Beatrix did, have a pet hedgehog named Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, the characters in the book are based on Mrs Kitty MacDonald  an old washerwoman in the village of Sawrey, the young girl, Lucy, was Lucy Carr, daughter of the vicar of Newlands which is between Derwentwater and Buttermere. Many of the pictures in the book images of the Newlands Valley.

The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan (1905) This was the first books featuring  Hilltop Farm to become Beatrix's home for many years. Characters  Ribby the cat and Duchess, a small black dog.

The Tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher (1905) The story of Mr Fisher (the frog)  and a narrow escape from a hungry trout, which, fortunately, doesn't like the taste of Mackintoshes.

The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit (1906) Tells of a naughty, nameless rabbit, who gets his just reward.

The Story of Miss Moppet (1906) Tells the story of Miss Moppet, Tom Kitten's sister, and her efforts at catching a mouse.

The Tale of Tom Kitten (1907) Tom Kitten gets into lots of mischief with Moppet and Mittens (his sisters) and gets into trouble with his mother, Mrs Tabitha Twitchet.

The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck (1908) The tale of a rather naive, and not too bright duck, who befriends a fox and has to be rescued by Kep, the farm collie dog.

The Tale of Samuel Whiskers (or The Roly-Poly Pudding 1908 ) First published in 1908 as “The Roly-Poly Pudding”, and re-published 1926 with its current name. Mr. Samuel Whiskers a (lazy rat), and his wife, Anna Maria, nearly turns Tom Kitten into the 'Roly-Poly Pudding'.

The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies (1909) Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny are grown up and Benjamin has married Peter's sister, Flopsy. The features the  rescue of Benjamin and Flopsy's children, the Flopsy Bunnies, from the dread Mr McGregor.

The Tale of Ginger and Pickles (1909)  The book is set in the Sawrey village shop, and is dedicated to John Taylor, husband of the shopkeeper in Sawrey.

The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse (1910) Mrs Tittlemouse, a very fussy & tidy little dormouse has several uninvited guests, including Mr Jackson, an ill-mannered toad.

The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes (1911) This book includes some American animals - grey squirrels, chipmunks and a black bear.

The Tale of Mr Tod (1912) Mr Tod, an urbane and sophisticated, yet very nasty fox, and Tommy Brock, a rather unpleasant badger get involved in the  kidnapping of the Flopsy Bunnies.

The Tale of Pigling Bland (1913) Tells the store the events surrounding Aunt Pettitoes. And her family of eight, four little girl pigs, called Cross-patch, Suck-suck, Yock-yock and Spot; and four little boy pigs, called Alexander, Pigling Bland, Chin- chin and Stumpy.

Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes (1917) Most of these nursery rhymes were written earlier but the book was left unpublished till 1917 as Beatrix concentrated on the Peter Rabbit tales.

The Tale Of Johnny Town-Mouse (1918) Set in the Lake District, Johnny Town Mouse accidentally visits the countryside.

Other Books
Some of these books were never published during her lifetime, but can now be found in The Complete Works of Beatrix Potter, published by F Warne and Co.

Three Little Mice (c1890)
The Sly Old Cat  (1906)
The Fox and the Stork (1919 )
The Rabbits’ Christmas Party (c1890)
Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes (1922)
Jemima Puddle-Duck's Painting Book (1925)
Peter Rabbit's Almanac  (1929)
The Fairy Caravan  (1929)
The Tale Of Little Pig Robinson (1930)
Sister Anne (1932)
Wag-By-Wall (1944)
The Tale Of The Faithful Dove (1955)
The Art Of Beatrix Potter (1955)
The Journal Of Beatrix Potter, 1881-1897, 1966 (Ed. L. Linder, Rev. 1989)
Letters To Children (1967)
A History Of The Writings Of Beatrix Potter  (1971) (Ed. By L. Linder)
The Tale Of Tuppenny (1973)
Beatrix Potter's Birthday Book (1974)
Dear Ivy, Dear June (1977)
Beatrix Potter's Americans (1982)
Yours Affectionately, Peter Rabbit (1983)
Beatrix Potter's Nursery Rhyme Book (1984)
Beatrix Potter's Letters (1989) (Ed. J. Taylor)

Click HERE to go to the books

About Beatrix

Beatrix Potter was born in Kensington, London in 1866 to a wealthy middle calss victorian family. She was  educated at home by a succession of governesses and so did not get much of a chance to mix with other children. Even her younger brother, Bertram, was rarely at home having been sent to boarding school, leaving Beatrix alone with her pet animals. Her pets included frogs, newts, rabbits, a dog, and even a bat, her favorites were two rabbits, Benjamin, whom she described as "an impudent, cheeky little thing", and Peter, whom she took everywhere with her, on a little lead. She would watch these animals for hours, sketching them and so developing her drawing talents from a young age.

Potter at fifteen years with her dog, Spot
Potter aged fifteen years with her dog, Spot

Every summer, the family rented a country house - first Dalguise House in Perthshire, Scotland, then in Lake District. In 1882, the Potter family met local vicar, Canon Rawnsley, who was concerned about the effects of industry and tourism on the Lake District and who, in 1895, found the National Trust, to help protect the countryside. Beatrix had a love of the natural countryside, and through Rawnsley, became interested in conservation of the region, something that affected the rest of her life. She eventually  purchased Hill Top Farm in the village of Sawrey, Cumbria, in the Lake District and with the royalties from her books, she brought further pieces adjacent land under the guidance of local solicitor William Heelis whom she eventually married in 1913. The couple lived at Hill Top Farm and many of here best works show Hill Top Farm farm house and the village. Beatrix Potter died at Castle Cottage in Sawrey in 1943. In her will, she left most of her property to the National Trust  (16 km²) of land, cottages, and 15 farms. A legacy that has helped protect the beauty of the Lake District and perpetuate traditional fell farming. All of her properties lie within what is today known as the Lake District National Park.

Further Reading

Miss Potter, a biographical film starring Renée Zellweger, was released on 29 December 2006. The character of Norman Warne was played by Ewan McGregor. A very symathetic portrayal and well worth a watch.
Places To visit
Hill-Top Farm is open to the public, but for a limited number of vistors per day. It has been restored to exactly the condition as it was when Beatrix lived there.
The Beatrix Potter Gallery, in Hawkshead village itself, shows a number of original letters and drawings.
The Beatrix Potter Attraction displays a collection of models and displays of Beatrix's work, in Windermere Village.
The Beatrix Potter Garden, Dunkeld House in Perthshire, Scotland, now home to the Birnam Institute, has gardens recreating Beatrix's tales and exhibitions throughout the summer.

Further reading
Susan Denyer, Beatrix Potter: At Home in the Lake District (2000) (biographical, plus photography of Potter's Lake District)
Anne Stevenson Hobbs, Beatrix Potter: Author and Illustrator (2005) (ISBN 0723257000; ISBN 978-0723257004) (collection of 200 of Potter's paintings, a catalogue of the Dulwich Picture Gallery exhibition of 2005)
Anne Stevenson Hobbs, Judy Taylor, and Joyce Whalley, Beatrix Potter, 1866-1943: The Artist and Her World (1987) (ISBN 0723235619; 978-0723235613) (a companion to the Tate Gallery Exhibition)
Margaret Lane, The Tale of Beatrix Potter: A Biography (2001) (ISBN 978-0723246763 ; 0723246769)
Linda Lear, Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature (Allen Lane, 2006) (ISBN 0713995602, ISBN 978-0713995602) (biography)
Beatrix Potter, Beatrix Potter: A Journal (2006) (ISBN 0723258058; ISBN 978-0723258056)
Judy Taylor, Beatrix Potter: Artist, Storyteller and Countrywoman (1996) (ISBN 0723241759; ISBN 978-0723241751)

Links to Beatrix Potter Resources

Beatrix Potter
Biography at PeterRabbit.com
Frederick Warne & Co. (a division of Penguin Books) Publishers of Beatrix Potter's books.
Beatrix Potter, A Life in Nature by Linda Lear
Beatrix Potter's Garden at Liverpool Museum
Feature on Beatrix Potter Collecting and Collectables at World Collectors Net
Beatrix Potter at Ward's Book of Days
Online feature of the Information Sciences Library at the University of Pittsburgh
Beatrix Potter's legacy @ Ward's book of Days
The world's largest collection of Potter's drawings, literary manuscripts, correspondence, photographs and related materials at the Victoria and Albert Museum