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Reading Challenge: Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit

21 Mar

Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit are big names in children’s literature. Their appeal has always interested me but I didn’t end up reading any of the books until a few years ago. And I wasn’t particularly impressed by the couple of titles I read. But I figured I should give them another try since the stories are so special for so many people- and their enduring popularity is something to be admired.

One of my reading challenges this year was to read the works of Beatrix Potter. I’ve seen (if not all 23) most of the small-format books on the shelves of any bookstore worthy of being called one. But I decided committing myself to read almost 2 dozen books wasn’t worth my time. After all: So many books, so little time!

My revised goal was to read all Beatrix Potter’s books specifically featuring Peter Rabbit- which I just completed.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit [**]- This was one of the two books (the other being The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin) that introduced me to the world Beatrix Potter created. I wasn’t a huge fan but ended up liking it more during my reread. I realized until recently that I had gotten the two story lines mixed up and for the longest time had thought Peter Rabbit had gotten his tail chopped off.

The Tale of Benjamin Bunny [***]- This is probably my favorite out of the series. The world was more familiar. And I enjoyed the humor here-with the occasional acknowledgement of the reader by the narrator.

The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies [*]- Another enjoyable read but by now I wasn’t really that interested in getting to know more of Peter Rabbit’s relatives and not have him be the main character!

The Tale of Mr. Tod [X]- Longer in format, this book seemed to never end.

In addition to reading those books, I decided to check out Emma Thompson’s additional adventures of Peter Rabbit. I’ve learned from previous experience that just because it’s been authorized by whoever owns the copyright, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be good. (Read the Winnie-the-Pooh travesty that was Return to the Hundred Acre Wood.)

The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit [**]- A midquel taking place between Benjamin Bunny and the Flopsy Bunnies, this was a surprisingly good re-introduction to Peter Rabbit. Cute but not too cute. (Illustrated by Eleanor Taylor.)

The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit [**]- Peter and Benjamin are back in this holiday offering. I’m really glad they haven’t baby-fied the characters. They are curious and mischievous creatures still- but good-intentioned! (Illustrated by Eleanor Taylor.)

I’m glad I took the chance to read Beatrix Potter and to get to know Peter Rabbit. While not a favorite character of mine, I understand his appeal more. I will even most likely read Emma Thompson’s upcoming installment The Spectacular Tale of Peter Rabbit when it comes out October 7, 2014.

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