According to some modern dictates, this story would not be well received by young readers; the language alone would render it inappropriate. After all, what four-year-old could possibly understand sparrows that "implored [Peter] to exert himself?" Fortunately, children rarely read literacy theory and so for generations have continued to enjoy this lively tale of naughtiness. This edition is delightful for its rich illustrations. Each page is saturated with color. The illustrator's use of watercolor, colored pen and pen and ink bring Beatrix Potter's English countryside to life. Alert readers will pick out the veins in the ivy leaves climbing Mr. McGregor's sundial and the individual hairs on the cat with the tail that "twitched as if it were alive." A bonus is the text's typeface. It is pleasing to the eye and easy to read, a plus for every parent, teacher or child reading this story time and again. 2001, SeaStar Books/North-South Books, $15.95 and $15.88. Ages All. Reviewer: Stephanie Farrow
School Library Journal
PreS - Gr 3 These full texts of three favorites ( Jeremy Fisher and The Tailor of Gloucester as well as the title Tale), with spacious format, attractive design and commonplace contemporary pictures would be acceptable except in comparison with the originals. In her tiny, still charming watercolors Beatrix Potter was meticulous in the acccuracy of natural details which combined to give a perfect sense of real places. Delacre dedicates this volume to Potter as ``an example and an inspiration,'' but the overall effect is bland, and there is a sloppy lack of attention to accuracy: a three-toed cat, a stuffed animal rabbit in which an arm seems to grow out of the side of its head, underwater bubbles traveling down and then up. Of course an artist may reillustrate a classic, but a formidable original demands a formidable reinterpretation. Potter's beautiful, impeccable illustrations are a perfect match for her finely honed prose. Our children deserve no less. Joanna Rudge Long, formerly at New York Public Library
Children's Literature - Sheilah Egan
The original illustrations in this sturdy board book were copyrighted by McPhail in 1986. Here they enhance Potter’s ever-popular story of an adventurous little rabbit that needed to heed his mother’s admonition not to go to Mr. McGregor’s garden. Clad in his blue jacket and little red shoes, the naughty Peter “ran straight away” to the forbidden garden plot. He ate lots of things and “feeling rather sick” went off to look for some parsley. Of course, he encounters the farmer and must flee for his life. After some hair-raising escape scenes, he manages to slip back out under the gate and run home. His mother doses him with chamomile tea and tucks him into bed, poor exhausted rabbit that he is. Mrs. Rabbit and her daughters enjoy “bread and milk and blackberries for supper.” Of course, Potter’s own illustrations are a charming compliment for her story; but McPhail expands the details available to the reader with his interpretations of various parts of the story. The view of the interior of the rabbit family’s abode “underneath the root of a very big fir tree” gives a clear picture of the tidy home Mrs. Rabbit has created for her children: Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter. The storyline as written is a bit long for today’s listeners, but their attention spans can be stretched as they have plenty to look at in this colorful version of a classic tale. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan; Ages 2 to 4.
Read an Excerpt
Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were - Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter. They lived with their Mother in a sand-bank, underneath the root of a very big fir-tree.