Beatrix Potter and Her Paintbox by David McPhail. Henry Holt & Co., 2015. 40 pages.
What It Is: A picture book biography about Beatrix Potter.
What It’s About: This book focuses primarily on Potter’s young life. She had a lonely childhood because her brother was away at school (except for the summers), and she had no other siblings. She spent much of her childhood painting, taking care of small animals, and the like.
What Works: Focusing on Potter’s childhood is an easy access point for the target audience of this book. Watercolor illustrations are bright and in keeping with the focus on Potter’s painting.
What Doesn’t Work: The book as a whole feels “okay” rather than remarkable. Lack of end matter and lack of depth to Potter’s story make this feel like a sweet story rather than a robust biography of a famous author.
What I Think: A suitable picture book biography about a beloved author, but not one to rush out and buy.
What I Recommend: This is a solid library checkout. If you’re enjoying Potter’s works with your children (home or classroom), consider checking this out to enjoy alongside. If your children are reading Potter’s stories on their own, then I’d recommend Who Was Beatrix Potter? for a more rounded, fleshed out biography.