Tuesday, July 28, 2015

B is for Beatrix

Feast  Peter Rabbit feasts on Mr. McGregor's vegetables in a scene from The Tale
of Peter Rabbit by Helen Beatrix Potter.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.com.
Today we celebrate the birthday of Helen Beatrix Potter, born in South Kensington, London, on July 28, 1866.  The first child of Rupert Potter, a barrister, and Helen Leech Potter, young Helen Beatrix was called Beatrix, or often, just B.  Fascinated by plants and animals, Potter began keeping a journal in her mid-teens, written in a code that remained undeciphered until 15 years after her death.  She made a series of greeting cards and began work on a book, for which she failed to find a publisher.  Potter privately published 250 copies of her book in 1901; it was only after these copies sold that Frederick Warne & Co. published The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1902.

Potter's books possessed several qualities which set her apart from other authors and illustrators of children's books.  Her integration of story and illustration remains unmatched in children's literature, and her recognition of the beauty of animals--and her ability to convey it truthfully--set her illustrations apart from the grotesque, caricature-like images typical of most Victorian-era animal stories for children. Potter's books were also innovative in their unique size--small enough for a child to hold, and easily transportable.  Unlike the typically large and elaborate children's books of the period, Potter's were clearly for children (rather than for parents to read to children).  Each book cost only one shilling, enabling children from all backgrounds to enjoy them.

Beatrix Potter died on December 22, 1943, at the age of seventy-seven. To this day her works are widely read, and she remains one of the most beloved children's authors and artists of all time.  Gale Virtual Reference Library 

The Children’s Collection (on the Garden Level of the Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus) includes several works by Potter, listed here, that may be checked out.

Sly old cat / written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter
PZ10.3.P47 Sl3
Tailor of Gloucester / from the original manuscript written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter
PZ10.3.P47 Ta7
Tale of Benjamin Bunny
PZ10.3.P47 Tabb 1975 
Tale of Benjamin Bunny
PZ10.3.P47 Tabb5
Tale of Peter Rabbit
PZ10.3.P47 Tap 1975
Tale of Tuppenny / Illustrated by Marie Angel
PZ10.3.P47 Tatu3
Tale of two bad mice
PZ10.3.P47 Tau 1975
Tale of Peter Rabbit
PZ7.P85 Tap 1900
Tale of Peter Rabbit
PZ7.P85 Tap 1987
Tale of Squirrel Nutkin
PZ7.P85 Tas 2001
Cuento de Pedrito Conejo
PZ73.P85 Tap 1993
Peter Rabbit's natural foods cookbook
TX741 .D6

The Children's Collection--comprised of illustrated children's books, original artwork, and teen literature--supports the School of Library & Information Studies; Department of Teacher Education; and art students from the College of Arts and Sciences at TWU.

For questions pertaining to the Children's Collection, please contact Reference and Children's Collection Librarian Jimmie Lyn Harris at jharris@twu.edu or 940-898-3740.

~Jimmie Lyn Harris

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