• Picturebook Snob

The tale of the children's book trailblazer

Beatrix and her Bunnies: The Story of Beatrix Potter by Rebecca Colby and Caroline Bonne-Müller, published Nosy Crow in partnership with the National Trust

"If only frogs could play leapfrog, " thought Beatrix, "or hedgehogs could play hopscotch."

What's it about?

It's hard to believe that once upon a time, Beatrix Potter was a rejected writer, struggling to get her work published. This was back when children's books were not taken seriously, and neither were women. Beatrix and her Bunnies is the tale of how Potter became a bestselling author and a household name despite the odds being stacked against her. This story also explores the enormous impact Potter had on the Lake District through her efforts to protect the countryside from development. A biographical note at the back offers even more insight into Potter's legacy.

What can we learn?

If at first you don't succeed, try again! Bunnies might not be immortal, but brilliant books and phenomenal fictional characters live forever. The imagination is an important resource whose power shouldn't be underestimated or dismissed.

What makes this stand out? Beatrix Potter is an excellent role model, and this is an inspiring and empowering book. At a time when women had little or no autonomy, Potter managed to become independently wealthy. Her perseverance and determination to bring her stories to a wider audience, and her devotion to conservation, are incredibly admirable.

Beatrix and her Bunnies is a lovely introduction to the world of Beatrix Potter. For those already familiar with her timeless creations, this is a wonderful way of becoming better acquainted with the woman behind them. It's amazing to meet and learn more about the real-life rabbits who influenced her stories. Young readers will also love the cute bunnies and the illustrations are gorgeous too.

About those illustrations...

The illustrations are stunning with a classic quality that takes readers back in time. Exquisite and ornate, with lots of glorious period details, the indoor scenes are fabulous, and I love all the outfits. The images set outdoors are even more colourful and vibrant, and celebrate the wildflowers and creatures of the countryside. The rabbits are remarkably lively and practically jump off the page.

Why we love it...

This book is bursting with the beauty of spring and the splendour of nature, and absolutely teeming with wildlife. I love how it's written in a gentle tone that recalls Beatrix Potter's own soothing narrative voice. My kids have great fun spotting all the animals and birds, especially the hedgehogs and rabbits. It's fantastic how this shows that Potter's vivid imagination and intricate inner world are valuable assets, and proves that there's nothing wrong with being a daydreamer. Beatrix and her Bunnies is a fitting tribute to a literary legend and her iconic characters, and a moving and memorable read.

Why you need it...

As well as being entertaining and informative, this story encourages children to persist in the face of adversity and pursue their dreams. It's great for prompting discussions about the past and how different life was for women, and would make a terrific classroom resource. The prevalence of rabbits makes this book ideal for reading as Easter approaches, and those bunnies are adorable!

Beatrix and her Bunnies has been on my wishlist since I first caught a glimpse of it on the Nosy Crow Instagram Page. I received a gift of Beatrix and her Bunnies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - all opinions expressed are my own. A huge thanks to Nosy Crow for our gifted copy and for the opportunity to read and review this beautiful book. Make sure you're following Nosy Crow on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and sign up for their newsletter so that you don't miss any updates about their amazing books.

About the author:

Rebecca Colby started “writing” before she learned the alphabet, composing songs from her imagination and memorising the lyrics. In addition to being an author, Rebecca has worked as a pantyhose inspector, an English teacher in Taiwan, a tour director, a librarian, and for a Russian comedian! A list of all of Rebecca's books can be found on her website.

About the illustrator:

Caroline Bonne-Müller wanted to illustrate children's books ever since she was a child. Caroline was born in France and grew up in the Netherlands, where she studied fashion design and worked for 14 years as a fashion designer. You can see more of Caroline's work on her website.

Beatrix and her Bunnies was published by Nosy Crow in partnership with the National Trust on 4th March 2021 - see this book on the publisher's website

Read an article from the Guardian about how Beatrix Potter revolutionised the way children's books were marketed and sold

Peter Rabbit is "the world's oldest licensed character" and over 40 million copies of the Tale of Peter Rabbit have been sold worldwide - read more about what a shrewd businesswoman Potter was on the Book Trust website

Did you know Potter was unable to present a paper she wrote on fungi reproduction to the Linnean Society of London because of her gender? Read more about the life of Beatrix Potter and her contributions to the world of science as well as literature on the Beatrix Potter Society website

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