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On This Day… The Beginning Of An Amazing Story

Written by: George Chittenden : 31 May 2019

It was on this day, 4th Sept, back in 1893 when Beatrix Potter first composed her story of Peter Rabbit. The world-famous story began as an illustrated letter that Potter sent to Noel Moore, the five-year-old son of her friend and former governess, Annie Moore. Poor Noel was suffering from scarlet fever and to cheer him up she wrote ‘I don’t know what to write to you, so I shall tell you a story about four little rabbits, whose names were – Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter…’

With this simple line the amazing story of Beatrix Potter began. Personally, I find Beatrix’s story an inspiration as she had the courage to follow her heart and didn’t bend to the will of the publishing industry. Potter was encouraged by friends to create a book version of her letters, but unfortunately for Potter it was rejected by every publisher she sent it too. The industry wanted a larger, more expensive book with colour illustrations, but Beatrix Potter insisted the book needed to be small enough to fit in a child’s hands and affordable with illustrations on every page to hold the attention of even the youngest reader.

Eventually in 1901 she followed her dream and self-published 250 copies of ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ for the Christmas market. It didn’t take long for her book to be picked up by a major publisher in the format she believed in and demand was so high, within a year six editions were produced to meet demand. The moral of Beatrix Potter’s story I guess is to follow your own path.

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