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Why Beatrix Potter is not just for children

Peter Rabbit

Beatrix Potter and her brilliant stories about a certain cheeky rabbit, a funny little puddle-duck and a busy little town mouse are more than just a shelf filler for children, they are beloved by people of all ages.

I recently read an interesting article from the BBC and its Culture department, about how Beatrix Potter was able to intertwine her stories of talking animals of all types and their various antics with subtle topics relating to what, as adults, we come across and overcome. These topics of equality, society, business and etiquette are as true today as they were in Beatrix Potter's day.

Mrs Rabbit warned her children of the farmer, Jemima just wishes to lay her eggs in peace and a frog who just wants to catch some minnows for his friends. Surely the obstacles these wonderful animals overcome can be representative of the struggles we face - seeing danger, knowing our boundaries, being able to challenge what we believe to be wrong.

What I found interesting, is that in many ways, we have taken for granted how wonderfully complex Beatrix Potter's stories are; that she never wrote a novel is a shame for literature, but what she gives us in her stories is an opportunity to see how things can change. The phrase 'everything happens for a reason' springs to mind and her stories portray that as a subtext throughout each of her books.

So when we share these stories with our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews or godchildren, we are bestowing them with the idea that you can change things if you believe in it enough. Beatrix Potter is an example of that herself and as her stories live on through each generation, long may that continue.

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