BEATRIX POTTER: A BIOGRAPHY
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ABOUT THE BOOK Many people know Beatrix Potter was a children's author and conservationist, but did you know she was also a rebel at heart? Born in 1866, Beatrix lived in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, commonly known as the Victorian Era. Don't let the fact that there was a woman on the throne fool you into thinking women had equal rights. The Victorian Era was an extremely anti-feminist time, and even the Queen did not think women should leave their traditional place in the home. To achieve personal success, Beatrix was constantly going against the grain of society. Against the constraints of her time and the desires of her parents, Beatrix Potter managed to carve out a lasting place in English literature. A member of the upper-middle class, Beatrix did not want to be merely a wife and mother. Instead, she sought out a way to take her favorite hobby, art, and earn enough to live independently. The road was not easy, but by the time she found a publisher when she was 35 years old, she had honed her artistic and literary skills. Her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, was an instant success. MEET THE AUTHOR Jeff Davis is a lifelong educator with a Ph.D. in English Studies who has taught at both the high school and university levels. EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK Perhaps one of the reasons why Beatrix Potter's books stand the test of time is because she understood that children are a sophisticated audience. Children understand that escaping Mr. McGregor is a matter of life or death for Peter. Furthermore, they can relate to the embarrassment Peter feels once he returns home. His good little sisters enjoy a supper of berries while Peter is shamed for losing his clothes in Mr. McGregor's garden. Peter is sent straight to bed without supper. Taking advantage of her success with The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix soon published The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (1903) and her personal favorite, The Tailor of Gloucester (1904).