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Beatrix Potter Books In Order

Publication Order of Picture Books

The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1900) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Tailor of Gloucester (1902) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (1903) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Tale of Kitty in Books (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Helen Beatrix Potter was an English author conservationist, natural scientist, and illustrator best known for the 24 Tales series of animal books that featured the character Peter Rabbit. Beatrix was born in Kensington, London to Helen and Rupert Potter in 1866. Beatrix and her younger brother Walter Bertram loved to paint and draw, and would make sketches of their pets that included bats, snakes, lizards, frogs, mice, and rabbits. With her parents encouraging her, Beatrix spent hours on her sketches of plants and animals, which was evidence of her early attraction to the natural world that continued into her adult life. Even as she never attended any type of formal schooling, she turned out to be an industrious and intelligent student to Miss Cameron her art teacher and her governess Annie Moore. Her two pet rabbits Peter Piper and Benjamin Bouncer were among some of her earliest artist models. Peter Piper typically went everywhere with Beatrix and had a talent for tricks, while Benjamin first joined the family when they needed a pet for Beatrix during a holiday to Scotland. Beatrix particularly loved the summers, as the family would always head north to Scotland, where they would holiday for three months. For Beatrix and her brother, the holiday was the long-awaited opportunity to observe insects and plants given the freedom to explore the countryside the parents allowed the children. She became even more interested in nature, the Lake District, and the countryside at age sixteen, when the family holidayed in Wray Castle, whose backyard overlooks Lake Windermere.

Long before she became a respected author, Beatrix had drawn many sketches of some of her childhood’s favorite stories such as Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland. It was not long before her art was included in greeting card designs from respected publications such as Changing Pictures and Hildesheimer & Faulkner. One of her earliest published titles included her most famous character Peter Rabbit, that was written in the format of “The Story of Little Black Sambo” by Helen Bannerman. After facing rejection from several publishers, she decided to self-publish her novel and printed 250 copies in 1901 that she gave to friends and family. The book was an instant success, and soon Frederick Warne & Co one of the publishers that had turned her down approached her, offering to publish the novel if she illustrated it in color, which she did. The book was published in 1902 and became an instant bestseller. By 1903, she had published three more titles in the series and went on to publish on average three titles a year until World War I, when she focused more on her land conservation, sheep breeding and farming efforts. What made Beatrix Potter series of novels so popular was the non-didactic nature of the narratives, the imaginative quality of the characters, the depiction of the countryside, and the liveliness of the illustrations.

In addition to publishing her books, Beatrix published many of her creations including the first “Peter Rabbit Doll” that became the world’s oldest licensed literary character in 1903. She would also make other merchandise including bedroom slippers, teas sets and a Peter Rabbit board that she made in 1904. In addition to the games and toys, she published painting books for “Jemima Puddle Duck” and “Peter Rabbit” and a “Peter Rabbit Almanac”. In 1992, the works in the Peter Rabbit series were made into an animated TV series “The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends”. In her later life, she became more interested in rural life particularly the Lake District, where she found solace after losing her fiancé and editor Norman. With a lot of income coming in from her books, she bought Hill Top Farm, which was the setting for many of her subsequent novels. While she was living in the district, she fell in love with and married a local solicitor William Heelis in 1912, who she lived with until her death in 1943. During her lifetime, she was very much involved in farming, and kept a variety of animals on her farm even going as far as winning several prizes, and becoming the President of the Herswick Sheep Breeders Association. Beatrix died in 1943 leaving behind over four thousand acres of land and fifteen farms to the National Trust. However, her most important legacy were her timeless novels, of which over two million copies are sold across the globe every year.

“The Tale of Peter Rabbit” is Beatrix Potter’s debut novel following the adventures of a disobedient and mischievous young Peter Rabbit, who lives on Mr. McGregor’s garden. He escapes from the clutches of McGregor and goes home to be put to bed on chamomile tea. The widowed rabbit mother always tells her children not to go into Mr. McGregor’s garden since their father had been caught in a trap in the garden, and had been made one of the ingredients of a pie. Her three daughters are for the most part obedient and do not visit the garden preferring to pick berries down the lane, even as Peter loves to go into the garden to gnaw on vegetables. It is not long before Peter is spotted, and in a frantic chase to escape loses his shoes and jacket before making it out of the garden. Wriggling under the gate he stops to look back to find the farmer using his clothing to adorn his scarecrow. Happy to be alive, he runs home to a tongue lashing from his other and chamomile tea, while his sisters enjoy a sumptuous meal of berries and milk.

“The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin” is the second novel in the 24 Tales series of novel by Beatrix Potter. The story is about an insolent young squirrel named Nutkin, who narrowly escapes the clutches of Old Brown, one of the deadliest owl’s in the district. Twinkleberry and his brother Squirrel Nutkin construct a raft of twigs and row to Owl Island, where they have heard the nuts are plentiful. Meeting Old Brown the owl, they ask for permission to collect nuts for the winter on the island he rules. However, the insolent Nutkin is busy dancing around while singing to an old stupid riddle. Old Brown ignores Nutkin and allows the squirrels to harvest nuts on his island as long as they offer him gifts every six days. For the impertinent Nutkin, every sixth day is an opportunity to taunt Old Brown with a newly composed singsong riddle. Eventually the owl gets tired of the insolent Nutnkin’s disrespect and grabs him in an attempt to make a meal of him. Fortunately for Nutkin, the owl had gotten hold of him by his tail and twitting and tugging hard he escapes, leaving most of his tail with Old Brown. But the effects of the incident live with him as he gets furious whenever anyone sings him any riddles.

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