Beatrix Potter’s parents:
Left her education to governesses.
Encouraged her love of drawing.
Supported her dream of being a writer.
Sent her to finishing school.
Wanted nothing to do with her once she began writing professionally.
Growing up, Beatrix and her brother Bertram:
Articulated/mounted the skeleton of a dead fox. (Good thing their parents didn’t head up to the children’s rooms too often.)
Skinned dead animals that they found in order to study their anatomy.
Sewed little books filled with their drawings of animals, flowers, etc.
Did all of these things.
Kept mice, rabbits, hedgehogs and bats up in their nursery/schoolroom.
Beatrix Potter got the names for her colorful animal characters:
Out of her imagination.
From people she knew.
From the gravestones in the cemetery near her parents’ house.
From listening to servants’ stories.
Out of books.
Potter began writing and illustrating animal stories:
For her own amusement.
As part of a friendly writing competition with her brother.
Just to see if she could do it.
Just to annoy her mother, who wanted her to act like a proper Victorian lady.
For the children of her former governess.
Potter’s 1st published book was:
"The Tale of Two Bad Mice."
"The Tale of Tom Kitten."
"The Tailor of Gloucester."
"The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle."
"The Tale of Peter Rabbit."
After the death of her fiancé in 1905, Potter:
Went into a deep depression.
Wrote a scholarly paper on fungus, which she wasn’t permitted to read to an all-male group.
Devoted herself to caring for her parents.
Bought Hill Top Farm in the English Lake District and began breeding Herdwick sheep.
Began frequently the London literary scene.
Have an early feminist subtext.
Are mesmerizing. Her love for animals draws the reader in.
Are thinly disguised commentaries — the cats are upper middle class, the pigs lower class, etc.
Are uneven and more than a little dark. Ever read what happens to Jeremy Fisher, the frog?
Were simply meant as charming stories for young children.
Potter eventually married William Heelis, a solicitor who:
Helped her market her children’s books.
Was a sounding board for all her book ideas.
Handled all of her financial affairs.
Shared her deep interest in farm land preservation.
Helped her market Peter Rabbit dolls, board games and wallpaper.
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