I’m sure everyone has heard of Beatrix Potter at one time in their life, but probably have no associations to her except the character of Peter Rabbit. She was born in July of 1866 into a well off family. Back then, children were taught by a governess and Beatrix was no exception to the rule. Her love of watercolor led to her many drawings of her animals, insects, archaeological places, and fungi. Her drawings were so attentive to detail that her illustrations of fungi are still used today! She adored animals and had many different ones but favored her mice and rabbits. In all of her illustrations, notice that even though the mice have clothing on, they are still anatomically correct. When she began to lose her eyesight, she let her second love of farming move in front. She adored the country life and when she passed she left her property to a group she formed to protect the beauty of the country called National Trust. This still stands today.
When reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit you most certainly can tell that you are reading words written a very long time ago. Not so much with this book, but in some of her others there are ideas touched on that would not make our children’s books today; such as the mention of smoking a pipe. Also there is vocabulary that isn’t used in today’s speech that is in the book. Traditionally speaking, or rather modern traditionally speaking, books meant for younger children are short in text and bigger on illustration to help connect the dots. In Beatrix’s books she has a lot of text to accompany each page. For a young reader it may be daunting to look at that without confidence in reading skills. Potter uses lots of descriptions to describe not only scenery but also her characters as well. She has an excellent way of delivering a big idea with as little words as possible. The illustrations are done by Beatrix Potter. She has a very distinct illustration style. She shows a scene from her text and fuzzes the edges. The illustrations are very detailed, but not overly busy. You can tell she has studied the objects or things that she draws. Her usage of color is very primary with varying shades of soft pastels. She uses a lot of white space both around the text and the illustrations.
I really love the whimsical aspect that Potter brings to our eyes. I have an adoration for her as both an author and illustrator. If you haven’t read any of her work, please do start with this one, as its her first work. I LOVE The Tale of Jemima Puddle Duck. I read this one a few months ago and actually giggled my bottom off. She was so great at what she did and I hope I have encouraged you to rent or buy her works because her work is wonderful.
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