Perhaps the founder of the modern picture book, we owe a great debt to this intrepid lady. (And, in fact, the Lake District in England owes much debt to her–she left her land in trust and many enjoy her beautiful estate even today.)
Beatrix Potter, as you no doubt know, began her beloved Peter Rabbit tales as letters to young people in her life. She illustrated them based upon her own farm animals and the wild animals she observed. It was her idea to publish the books in small format, “just right for little hands.”
If you haven’t enjoyed her work in the original small format, please remedy that with your children! The larger compilations of her books are just not the same. I also need hardly say that the stories without her original illustrations… well, what is the point? Why desecrate them in that fashion??!!
My all-time favorites are Mrs. Tiggy-winkle and Jemima Puddleduck. In fact, I love that Jasper Fforde includes Tiggy-winkle in his Thursday Next books. And I’ve a soft spot in my heart for little hedgehogs (I recently got to pet one at an aquarium and I thought immediately–and fondly–of Mrs. Tiggy-winkle).
My children also frequently request Two Bad Mice and Mr. Jeremy Fisher; there are none that we don’t enjoy (and I have all but one ☺).
And Horn Book has a great essay titled Absorbing Pictures and What They Say up–it features some terrific spreads from some books we will also be mentioning in the coming weeks. Love those classics!