Celebrating Beatrix Potter’s 150th Birthday
On July 21, 2016 | 0 Comments

Helen Beatrix Potter was a beloved children’s author and illustrator who was born in London on July 28, 1866. She was known to friends and family – and now generations of fans around the world – as Beatrix, the creator of Peter Rabbit and 22 other children’s stories about animals. Although Beatrix never went to school as a child, she spent hours with her art tutor, learning to draw sketches of the rabbits, mice, lizards, and frogs she and her brother kept as pets.

Beatrix’s drawings were published several times before 1902, mostly as greeting cards for the publisher Hildesheimer & Faulkner. Her real success came from her determination to see The Tale of Peter Rabbit published. When it finally was accepted and printed by Frederick Warne & Co. in October of 1902, it became an instant bestseller, earning Beatrix the reputation that helped her publish 22 more children’s books in her lifetime. All of her stories feature a farm animal as the main character and were inspired by her childhood fascination with animals and the lifetime love of the country that followed.

Beatrix wanted to bring her characters to life away from the page as well, so after the initial success of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she handmade the first Peter Rabbit doll herself. She registered it at the patent office in 1903, making Peter Rabbit the world’s oldest licensed literary character. She followed the doll with board games, tea sets, and even slippers.

July 28, 2016 marks the 150th anniversary of Beatrix’s birth. Libraries around the country will be celebrating the day with readings and other activities for children. We’ve rounded up the characters of some of Beatrix’s most famous books to help you get started celebrating her life and the lives she touched.


 Peter-RabbitThe Tale of Peter Rabbit

1902

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was first published by Frederick Warne in 1902 and endures as Beatrix Potter’s most popular and well-loved tale. It tells the story of a very mischievous rabbit and the trouble he encounters in Mr McGregor’s vegetable garden!

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Squirrel-NutkinThe Tale of Squirrel Nutkin

1903

Beatrix Potter’s famous tale of a naughty squirrel who loses his tail. Nutkin, his brother Twinkleberry and all his cousins make their way over to Owl Island to gather nuts, but Old Brown, the terrifying owl guardian of the island, has decided he has had enough of silly Nutkin’s cheekiness!

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Mr-Jeremy-FisherThe Tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher

1906

This tale tells of an optimistic and slightly accident-prone frog, who sets off on a fishing expedition across the pond, only to find himself bitten on the toe by a water-beetle, fighting with a stickleback, and eventually nearly eaten by a trout!

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Miss-MoppetThe Story of Miss Moppet

1906

The Story of Miss Moppet recounts the tale of a pussy cat, Miss Moppet, chasing a mouse. It turns out to be a bit of a battle of wits, and who do you think will win?

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Tom-KittenThe Tale of Tom Kitten

1907

This tale is set in the cottage garden Beatrix created herself at Hill Top, the farm she owned near the village of Sawrey. Tom and his sisters look so smart in their new clothes. When their mother sends them outside, she couldn’t possibly guess what kind of mess they are going to get themselves into!

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Jemima-Puddle-DuckThe Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck

1908

Jemima was a real duck belonging to Beatrix Potter. All Jemima wants to do is lay her eggs in peace. At last she flies off and finds the perfect place. Little does the silly duck realise that the charming gentleman who has lent her his woodshed is busily planning a delicious meal of . . . roast duck!

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200Faith Aeriel is a freelance writer and journalist. She has formerly worked as Associate Editor for Manhattan Book Review, San Francisco Book Review, and Kids’ BookBuzz, during which time she was responsible for writing articles, blog posts, and interviewing authors, as well as editing and managing incoming content for the websites. Faith loves books, cinnamon rolls, and cats.

You can learn more about Faith on her booklover’s blog.

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