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29 September, 2011

Beatrix Potter - Favourite Stories

The other day I watched a movie called "Miss Potter".  
The credits said:- MISS POTTER is the enchanting, inspiring tale of one woman's quest for happiness, love and artistic acceptance.

Beatrix Potter was played by Renee Zellweger and I thought it was a great portrayal.    Briefly the story went like this.  Beatrix was mind set on getting her book "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" published.  It eventually happened with some reluctance by the publishing company and they sort only to humour Beatrix.  They never believed it would be taken seriously by the general public.  As it happens, the man assigned to be her publisher Norman Warne (Ewan McGregor in the movie)  believed in the book.  

As with all love stories Beatrix fell in love with Norman and they became unofficially engaged due to the fact that her parents disapproved of Norman because he was only a 'tradesman'.  By this time Beatrix was 32 years old and regarded a spinster, yet very much under the control of her parents.  Since Beatrix had rejected all the appropriate suitors her mother had chosen and approved, her parents had determined she would not marry. 

After much arguing about Norman and her intended marriage, Beatrix agreed to go away for the summer months to Scotland with her parents with the understanding that on her return she would marry Norman.  Her mother was hoping the time away would cool Beatrix yearnings, but it was quite the opposite.  

During this period away, Beatrix received a letter saying her darling Norman was quite ill.  She raced back to London only to find she was too late.  Norman had died and the funeral had been the day before she arrived.   Naturally Beatrix was grief stricken for a long time and only found solace in her illustrations and writing.

The upside of all this was that "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" was a huge success.  As she was now independently rich , Beatrix bought a house in the country where she lived happily ever after and some eight years later married an old friend and lawyer, William Heelis.  Read more about Miss Potter here.

This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.

Beatrix Potter
Born28 July 1866
Kensington, London, England
Died22 December 1943 (aged 77)
Near Sawrey, Cumbria, England
OccupationChildren's author and illustrator
GenresChildren's literature
Notable work(s)The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Spouse(s)William Heelis

I remember reading "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" to my children when they were one month old.  I don't know if it really did them any good, but it was heaven for me to sit quietly and read to them while they slept. To hear their quiet breathing and smell their beautiful baby smells is a lasting memory.  Neither my boys are voracious readers, but they're doing quite well in the world, making it successfully through University.  So at some point their reading prowess paid off.  Well I just love to read and this movie about Beatrix Potter and her gorgeous Peter Rabbit just made my day.  I'm off to re-read all her stories.

To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries. 
 - A C Grayling, Financial Times (in a review of A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel)

This post is also part of Friday on My Mind link back to Rhonda at Down To Earth to find out what's on other people's minds to day.
This post is also part of Katherine's Corner blog hop.


  1. I love the Beatrix Potter books and my kids also enjoyed reading them. I would love to go the Lakes District one day and see her house.

    I actually did a post about some of the music used in the Peter Rabbit and friends TV series. You might like the music? Here is the link to the post:

    Thanks so much for following my blogs. I am following you too!

    Best wishes,

  2. We always read stories to our kiddos and grandkids. This is a wonderful story!I am blog hopping from Katherine's Corner. Following you now everywhere I can find to follow. LOL Thx for visiting my blog. Growing Old With Grace

  3. Thanks Natasha and Grace. I would love to listen to the music and will make sure I do that before today ends. Yup Grace you and I seem to travel in the same circles.

  4. Hi Chris,
    Thanks for bringing back the memories! When my daughter was born I had her nursery decorated all Beatrix Potter-ish...I loved the stories myself, and would read them aloud, too. I don't think it's so much what we read to them when they were so young, but merely the act of snuggling and hearing their mother's voice that makes the impression.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  5. Totally agree mammawolfe. TFS

  6. A wonderful blog. The Beatrix Potter stories are delightful and as a teacher and parent I have a great appreciation of their appeal. I read them to my own children.

  7. Chris, I thoroughly enjoyed the post. As an English teacher I was involved in a survey about Ms. Potter in relation with children's literature.
    Personally, I immensely enjoy her work which I must say comes as a refreshment to my children. Among all our favourite story characters there are, Peter Rabbit is quite on the top of our list. Unfortunately, I still haven't seen the film.
    P.S. Thank you for the sweet comment you left for me!

  8. Thanks for reminding me...I have that movie on my netflix list. I always loved those books when my kids were little! love,andrea

  9. what a lovely post. I am a huge Beatrix Potter fan too. I saw that movie and thought it was done well also. Thank you for sharing this lovely post on the Thursday Favorite Things blog Hop. Big hugs!

  10. My oldest daughter's room was based on Beatrix Potter's characters. She is a voracious reader, and she is reading English and journalism @ university.

  11. I love Beatrix Potter and they were one of the first books I bought for my daughter before she was even born.

    I love the picture of the cat planking on the clothes horse too! Very cute.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, too.

  12. I've not read the book but what a sad story.

  13. Thanks everyone have a great day

  14. Do you know that it was watching Miss Potter and seeing that viaduct on the moors that set me off planning to visit the UK again? We stayed with my uncle near Lancaster and he drove us everywhere...out to the viaduct and we even went on the Settle to Carlisle Railway which crosses the viaduct en route!
    We went to Hawkshead and saw the Bend or Bump offices and then over to Beatrix's home and garden. I mean to blog about this visit soon and I have a beautiful book that shows the inside of the photography permitted...but I can show you my photos of their photos lol.
    Thank you so much for this lovely post.


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