1. Hello, October! How about some of Janet Hill’s Halloweeny oil paintings?
Janet is based in Ontario, Canada, and has been painting since her senior year of high school. Her work is elegant and nostalgic with charming touches of whimsy.
Her many interests include tornadoes, haunted houses, quicksand, pirates, witches, lady villains (preferably ones that wear monocles), doll houses, dogs and cats, fashion and interior design (1920-1979), Laurel Canyon, historic hotels, ESP, sea monsters, vintage cars, Old Hollywood, the Manson family, Wes Anderson movies, and understanding why her husband owns over thirty books about Bob Dylan.
Since spring is Beatrix Potter time in the Alphabet Soup kitchen, thought we’d serve up a blend of old and new, courtesy of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-duck.
For the last several days, while trying to decide which stories to talk about, we heard a constant quacking in the butler’s pantry. Stray feathers drifted in whenever we opened the front door, and the odd egg or two would appear in unexpected places — next to the toaster, inside the oatmeal box, in front of the clock.
Quite curious, wouldn’t you say?
Well, Clever Cornelius knew eggsactly what was up: Jemima Puddle-duck was jockeying for the spotlight.
Not wanting to quash her quack, we decided to share a newish board book in which she appears with Peter Rabbit, in addition to her classic tale published in 1908.
A SPRING SURPRISE
In A Spring Surprise, the fifth title in the adorable Peter Rabbit Tale board book series by Fiona Munro and Eleanor Taylor (Frederick Warne, 2019), Peter and his family are busy preparing for an Easter picnic.
Everyone except Peter knows what they’re bringing. For Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail, it’s blackberry juice, wildflower garlands and jump ropes.
Wanting to bring something just as perfect, Peter goes around asking for suggestions. His mother, who’s making sandwiches, suggests “something sweet,” while Benjamin Bunny (busy with his kite) is in favor of “something fun.” Squirrel Nutkin tells him to “take something that’s a bit different.”
Well, this only makes Peter feel worse because he can’t think of anything sweet, fun, or different . . . until he suddenly spots something small and yellow amongst the bluebells. A flower? No, it’s moving! A butterfly?
Ooh, a tiny duckling! He scoops it right up. As he scampers along the path, he sees another, then another and another! Peter knows these ducklings belong to Jemina Puddle-duck, who must be worried sick. When he shows up with them at the picnic, Jemima is ecstatic, and everyone claps and cheers. Peter definitely couldn’t have brought anything sweeter, more fun or different to the picnic. 🙂
Now, despite the missing ducklings, Jemima really likes this story because she gets to do some quazy joyous quacking at the end, and the appearance of her four ducklings kinda picks up right where The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck leaves off.
Do you recall that somewhat harrowing farmyard tale?
Spring is finally here and Easter’s coming up this weekend — which means it’s time for a little Beatrix Potter!
Always fun to reread her little Peter Rabbit books and play with the Beswick porcelain figurines that wait patiently all year in the butler’s pantry cupboard. Take us out, they say. Dust us off and take our picture!
Potter followed that adventure with The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies (1909), that’s about Benjamin and Peter all grown up. Benjamin is now married to Peter’s sister Flopsy and they have six children “generally called the ‘Flopsy Bunnies.'” We soon learn that lettuce will play a key role in this story. 🙂
It is said that the effect of eating too much lettuce is ‘soporific.’
I have never felt sleepy after eating lettuces; but then I am not a rabbit.
They certainly had a very soporific effect upon the Flopsy Bunnies!
Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits —
and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter.
They lived with their Mother in a sand-bank, underneath the root of a very big fir-tree.
‘Now my dears,’ said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, ‘you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.’
So begins the story of Peter Rabbit, the most beloved bunny in children’s literature. It’s likely this charming tale will be enjoyed during family Easter celebrations on both sides of the pond this weekend.
Refreshments may include blackberries and milk, currant buns, lettuces, radishes, parsley and camomile tea. Other favorite Potter characters such as Benjamin Bunny, Tom Kitten, Jemima Puddle-duck, and Mrs. Tiggy-winkle may also get their fair share of attention, but what about Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley?
Well, it’s time you knew (if you don’t already). 🙂
Rawnsley wrote the “other” Tale of Peter Rabbit. Yes, there actually was another version. And it was written in verse!
Peter Rabbit gets a lot of attention, as does Miss Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Jeremy Fisher, Tom Kitten and Squirrel Nutkin. In fact, they all have their own little books written about them. But not the Amiable one, who was actually the first guinea pig in Miss Potter’s work. She wrote a clever limerick about him that appeared in Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes (1917).
But one limerick does not a book make. Wouldn’t you feel a little slighted? To add insult to injury, initially Miss Potter’s publisher Frederick Warne & Co. wasn’t that keen on the Appley Dapply rhyme collection, which she had hoped to publish following the release of The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1902.