She Wrote The Beloved Childhood Story “The Tale Of Peter Rabbit,” And Worldwide, Over 250 Million Copies Of This Classic Have Been Sold

Stephen Kemp - illustrative purposes only

One of fiction’s most beloved little childhood characters is Peter Rabbit from author Beatrix Potter’s famous story, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.”

More information about the life of Beatrix has come to the surface, and people have been fascinated to learn that she wasn’t just a children’s book author but a lover of nature and an artist.

Beatrix was born in London in 1866. She was born to her wealthy parents, descendants of wealthy cotton merchants. She spent many days at home outside the city, playing with her younger brother and writing and drawing in sketchbooks and journals.

Growing up, Beatrix quickly realized she had a great appreciation for nature and the outdoors, often drawing, sketching, and painting plants, fungi, animals, and other objects she’d find outside. She’d do a lot of creative writing and drawing while on holiday with her family at their summer home in Scotland.

As she got older, Beatrix took great interest in studying entomology and mycology. She began giving her scientific drawings to libraries and museums and wrote a paper on spore germination.
Then, in the 1890s, she began to write stories and fictional narratives about the small pets her family kept around, including rabbits.

She’d send these stories to her friends’ children, including the son of her former governess. She’d send him a series of illustrated stories based on her rabbits, then in 1893, sent him one about four little rabbits whose names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter. Thus, the beloved character of Peter Rabbit was born.

The families to whom Beatrix sent her stories encouraged her to write a book about Peter Rabbit, and she heeded their advice, self-publishing the first edition of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” in 1901.

Beatrix looked into getting the book commercially published but struggled to find the right publisher immediately, as she insisted the book be kept inexpensive and printed in small copies for children. Finally, in 1902, Frederick Warne & Co. met most of her demands, and it was published commercially.

“The Tale of Peter Rabbit” was an instant success, and Frederick Warne & Co. quickly began asking Beatrix to write more books after it sold out in multiple editions. Beatrix continued to write more famous children’s stories, including “The Tailor of Gloucester,” “The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin,” and The Tale of Benjamin Bunny.”

Stephen Kemp – illustrative purposes only

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