Peter Rabbit makes an appearance in a recently discovered Beatrix Potter story to be published later this year — more than 100 years after it was written.
Potter, who created Peter Rabbit and dozens of other beloved characters in her 23 children’s books, sent “The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots” to her publisher in 1914, saying it was the story of “a well-behaved prime black Kitty cat, who leads rather a double life.”
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World War I, along with family and health issues interrupted Potter and her publisher and she never completed the book — illustrating only one of the pictures to go along with her story.
Publisher Jo Hanks stumbled onto a reference about the lost book in an old biography of Potter. After some detective work, Hanks was able to track down three versions of the manuscript with notes, some sketches, and the one finished drawing.
Quentin Blake, an illustrator with expertise in Potter’s style has been brought in to finish the book’s pictures. He’s best known for his work with Roald Dahl, who wrote “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach.”
In Kitty’s adventures, she runs into some familiar Potter characters, including Peter Rabbit, after he’d grown older, fatter, and a bit slower. This will be the seventh Potter book that Peter appears in. The Peter Rabbit series has sold more than 151 million copies in 35 languages since it was first published in 1902.
Photo: The Victoria & Albert Museum
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