Thursday, July 31, 2008
A Beatrix Potter Treasury
Potter, Beatrix. 2007 (this edition). A Beatrix Potter Treasury: The Original and Authorized Editions by Beatrix Potter. New colour reproductions by Frederick Warne.
This treasury contains eleven of Beatrix Potter's animal stories and a nice little introduction that places them all in context. (This little introduction is "The Story of Beatrix Potter" and features plenty of pictures as well as reproducing the original letter to Noel Moore with the first "story" of Peter Rabbit. The intro focuses on her life and her books and the publishing process--their success and reception by the world.) Each of the eleven stories has a one page "about this book" introduction.
The stories include Peter Rabbit (1902), The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (1904), The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies (1909), The Tale of Mr. Tod (1912), The Story of A Fierce Bad Rabbit (1906, 1916), 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 Pie and the Patty Pan (1905), The Tale of Ginger and Pickles (1909).
The stories of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny were not new to me. I grew up with them. In fact, perhaps they were a bit too well known to me. Unless it's a common phrase for families to talk about "getting put in a pie" all the time. (Let me know if it is!) The phrase in full was a lecture to Peter Rabbit especially (Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail not really needing to be told twice) to stay out of Mr. McGregor's garden. "Your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor."
Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny (and many of the other stories as well) show that there are consequences to every action. If you're a good little bunny, then nice things happen to you. If you're a bad little bunny, then they don't.
I enjoyed almost all the stories in A Beatrix Potter Treasury. I can't say that Ginger and Pickles would ever be my choice as a read aloud, in fact, I don't quite "get it." Why an economic story disguised as a children's book?
I do wish this collection had more stories. I would have loved to see it have The Tale of Two Bad Mice, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, and The Tailor of Gloucester to name a few. But I suppose for those looking for that thorough an introduction could order The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter which came out the year before by the same publisher. (One is 400 pages and $40 retail, the other is 190 pages and $20 retail.)