Sunday, October 26, 2008

Well Dressed Animals

The Art of Beatrix Potter
Tom Kitten was very fat, and he had grown; several buttons burst off. His mother sewed them on again

The Rabbits Christmas Party

This book is a series of six paintings, containing only a few words and no other text. The paintings depict a traditional English Christmas, rabbit style. Two of the six paintings are represented here.

note: I have a particular fondness for rabbits. Though I have never eaten rabbit pie, my mother makes the most delicious Portuguese rabbit stew that you will ever taste.

This is another s

...and we will have something so very nice. I am baking it in a pie-dish--a pie-dish with a pink rim. You never tasted anything so good! And you shall eat it all! From The Pie and the Patty-Pan

note: this little story is about an invitation to tea (above) by a cat named Ribby, where the recipient, a dog named Duchess, becomes worried that lunch will be made of mouse. She panics because she doesn't like mouse one bit. So she concocts a more

"Now, my dears," said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, "you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor." read more

Jemima Puddle Duck

SHE set off on a fine spring
afternoon along the cart-
road that leads over the hill.

She was wearing a shawl
and a poke bonnet.


"Thank goodness, my education was neglected," Potter later wrote in an article, but actually she was much interested in science and spent much time in developing a theory of the germination of fungus more


  1. Wow! That takes me back. My paternal grandmother read us Beatrix Potter when we were little. I remember sitting next to her on the itchy sofa as she read.

    Later, I enjoyed reading the stories to my children. I hate to get ahead of myself, but maybe someday I'll share them with grandchildren, too.

    I've kept the books just in case.

  2. I have always loved the illustrations in old books like those. The frogs are great!!

  3. i still smile when i see those pictures.

  4. These pictures take me back about 70 years! How old are they really?
    Will today's children have the same memories? I hope so.

  5. These date back to the early 1900s and they're still very popular today. But I've heard more than one person comment on how dated the interactions between parents and kids are. And I say, well of course!

  6. I got the opportunity to see the originals of Peter Rabbit along with her hand written poem. It was very neat.

  7. Dcup: good move to keep the Potter books. They're precious.

    Diane: Aren't they?

    Kenju: My favorites are the rabbits. The two I've posted here from The Rabbits' Christmas party are sort of obscure. I found a third of the total of six that comprise the book but have had no luck in finding the other three. I adore them.

    Susan: Oh, cool! I would love to visit her homestead one day. I love that kind of outing.

    Thanks all for enjoying Well Dressed Animals with me.

    Peace & Love,

  8. I adore Beatrix Potter. Quintessentially English and rather surreal. You don't get so many beatings (see Tom Kitten) or animals in pies in kids books today!


  9. I never read these when I was a kid, but Suzy bought the complete set when we had kids. Some of the stories are kind of strange, but strange or not, I still like them. Sure beats the heck out of Disney. My kids had favorites that they would want us to read over and over. Then along came the corgi puppy. Now many of the books have teeth marks in them.

  10. Thanks for this post, Pagan! I have long been a fan of Beatrix Potter. That's funny that Ed mentioned the chewed books. I bought the complete boxed set at Sam's Club back before we had kids because I always loved the books (as did my mom), but the darned puppy especially seemed to like chewing children's books, so one day I intend to buy another complete set to keep w/o toothmarks!

    When I was little I had the green-bound ones, and I still have a few that were inscribed by an aunt. I have The Tale of Tom Kitten, which, for some reason long forgotten, has a diamond shape cut out of the frontispiece. I actually remember doing the cutting with a stubby little scissors, and I remember a big "uh-oh" feeling in my stomach as soon as the deed was done!

    My favorite story was The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin.

    I have a book published in the seventies I believe, called The Art of Beatrix Potter. I also have a very nice Dorling Kindersley book called The World of Beatrix Potter. Rabbit Ears productions released a video of The Tailor of Gloucestor narrated by Meryl Streep that was a favorite when our kids were little.

    I'm sorry this comment is so long. I'm kind of a Potter geek.

    Are you familiar with the book Johnny Crow's Garden -- another book with well dressed animals?

  11. Suzy: please don't apologize! I love long comments and I loved reading it.
    I don't recall at what point I was introduced to Beatrix Potter but it was love at first sight. The illustrations, more than the stories, are what I fall for. Though, I agree with singingbear about the unsentimental view Potter took of things like rabbits and mice baked into pies - things we modern parents try to protect our kids from. I guess one reason I like the idea is that I was raised with a rather unsentimental attitude toward animals. Pets were a luxury we couldn't afford and though I recall a cat when I was very young, it pretty much went its own way - we fed it and it came round once in a while. As for rabbits...well...there was no pie but there was sometimes tasty rabbit stew for Sunday lunch. ;-)

  12. Oh, Suzy - Johnny Crows Garden sounds familiar but vague. Will have to look it up. I love illustrations of well-dressed animals!

  13. There have been many Beatrix Potter imitations, but few have succeeded, in my opinion.

    When we meet some day, we can discuss children's books. It's a passion of mine.

  14. Here's Johnny Crow from Project Gutenberg:

  15. I adore Beatrix Potter and have the whole collection of children's books. Did you see the movie? It was very good! Thanks for the smiles today :)

  16. Linda: the pleasure was all mine, my new friend. :-)

  17. Suzy: I like how you say "when we meet". :-) I don't keep pace as well I should with even picture books, which are a passion and which I use in my work all the time. But I certainly have many, many favorite illustrators and author/illustrator teams. I'm just beginning to try to find more images from William Steig's books. He's one of my all-time favorites. What an illustrator and sometimes wacky story-teller! But it worked for kids AND for the book-loving adults that some children are fortunate enough to have.

    Thank you so much for your comment, Suzy. It meant a lot to me.

  18. Ahh to be young again, in your lap, and hearing Beatrix Potter read aloud! Those were certainly "the" days. What a beautiful little post! I especially enjoyed the Rabbits' Christmas Party and that precious mouse intently reading the paper. Thanks for sharing :)

  19. SG2 - I <3 you. Doesn't seem like that long ago to me.


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