The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter

by Beatrix Potter

Hardcover, 1992

Status

Available

Call number

912

Collection

Publication

Derrydale (1992), 256 pages

Description

A collection of tales featuring Peter Rabbit and his friends.

User reviews

LibraryThing member atimco
I'm sure I'm not the only person who has been inspired to revisit Beatrix Potter's books through the recent film made about her life, Miss Potter. I grew up with various copies of her books, small and distinctive in their white binding, and cropping up everywhere in the house. Though I, with a
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child's clearsighted practicality, preferred fatter books with more words because they kept me occupied longer, every now and then I would gather as many Potter books as I could find and read them. I savored the books' small size, thick glossy pages, and expressive illustrations.

One of the reasons these books have aged so well is their sly humor. So much is implied: Peter not enjoying himself in Mr. McGregor's garden the second time around; Jemima Puddle-duck marveling at the number of feathers in the fox's shed; Mrs Tabitha Twitchit refusing to give credit at her store. In some ways the spare, flexible narrative style educates young readers to read between the lines and understand what isn't explicit. Just as in Austen, it's just as much about what isn't said as what is. The animal characters interact with one another quite like people do, with little social hypocrisies (that we can see and giggle at), children disobeying their mothers, neighbors being jealous of one another — scolding, singing, teasing, chasing, joking, playing, eating, living.

And the watercolors! They are at once very prim and proper in the style of Victorian manners, and yet so suggestive of action, excitement, mischief, and fun. Potter's stories may be very short, but half the tale is told by the pictures.

One thing that surprised me as I reread the stories as an adult is how honest they are about the possibility of death (by being eaten, mostly!). In The Tale of Mr Tod, baby bunnies are stolen and are only rescued from the fox's clutches at the last minute. In The Tale of Tom Kitten, the two rats roll up Tom into a doughy ball preparatory to devouring him. Jemima is rescued from the fox by the dog Kep, but the puppies rush in and gobble the eggs she was sitting on. Potter's little animal world may be quaint and charming, but it isn't sentimental.

The rhymes and poems remind me of J. R. R. Tolkien at his most childlike; I think of Tom Bombadil always breaking into nonsensical rhymes, always in a good humor. It must be a British thing in children's books to have characters who communicate in poetry and riddles.

Beatrix Potter's books, with their disarming simplicity and beautiful illustrations, are simply a treasure and I look forward to sharing them with my own children someday. Highly recommended!
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LibraryThing member Bcushman
This is my childhood in a book. It will be something I read to my children and grandchildren and hopefully they to their's.

Language

Original language

English

Physical description

11.25 inches

ISBN

0517072467 / 9780517072462

Local notes

Includes: Peter Rabbit, Tailor of Gloucester, Squirrel Nutkin, Benjamin Bunny, Two Bad Mice, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, The Pie and the Patty-Pan, Mr. Jeremy Fisher, Fierce Bad Rabbit, Miss Moppet, Tom Kitten, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Roly-Poly Pudding, The Flopsy Bunnies, Mrs. Tittlemouse, Timmy Tiptoes, Mr. Tod, Pigling Bland, Ginger and Pickles
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