Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Friday, February 4, 2011

PETER RABBIT AND SUPER BOWL SUNDAY...(Yes, you read my title correctly!)

The World of Peter Rabbit
As a follow-up to my last post about the YEAR OF THE RABBIT, I've decided not only to devote a whole entry to Peter, by far the most Popular Rabbit, but to also mention an NFL player who is said to be "quicker than a Jack Rabbit".

A couple of nights ago, I had fun perusing a wonderful website and resource - THE WORLD OF PETER RABBIT -  all about Peter Rabbit and his talented creator. Under the "WHAT'S NEW" tab, I discovered that this Sunday, February 6, there will be - no, not the Super Bowl! - a Chinese New Year celebration in Trafalgar Square, sponsored by London China Town (hence the cute painting)!

Which got me thinking: a great activity to do with a child who's not interested in watching the Super Bowl (bear with me Super Bowl fans - your turn is coming), would be to introduce her or him to some literary animals, all full of personality, from Beatrix Potter's imagination - found in her classic books (she wrote 23 in small format).  You can also meet her characters on this charming website by clicking on the "FUN AND GAMES" tab.  You'll also find activities, including one that puts your child into an Easter puppet show adventure with Peter (you might decide to save this for closer to the Easter holiday).
Fly Agaric 
(Amanita muscaria), 
drawn by 
Beatrix Potter 
in September 1897 
Courtesy of 
the National Trust

The tab for "BEATRIX POTTER" leads to historic photos, her artwork,  and all the information you'd ever want to know about this amazing author/illustrator. From childhood she was interested in nature and drawing (she spent hours observing and drawing her secret menagerie of pets), but she also "dedicated her later years to preserving the ecology and natural beauty of the Lake District, becoming a farmer and breeding Herdwick sheep. She worked closely with The National Trust and left them a substantial part of her estate to be preserved as a living landscape". She also donated a large collection of remarkable scientific illustrations of fossils, archaeological finds, mosses and lichens, wild flowers, microscope drawings and, most importantly, fungi to the Armitt Trust.  I saw an exhibit of her scientific illustrations years ago at a local natural history museum - they were incredible!

You may ask why PETER RABBIT has been so successful...maybe it's the timeless and compelling plot: separation from family and home, adventure, escape, and then the home-coming with lessons learned along the way (a plot as old as Homer's Odyssey!).  Or maybe it's the perfect marriage of Potter's gifted use of precise language with her detailed watercolor illustrations, which make her books so fun to read aloud.  Whatever the reason, all her stories respect the intelligence and humor of children, something all generations have appreciated. 

Now, for those of you who have kids that are into the SUPER BOWL this year...
Click HERE for some fun party ideas and crafts.  And who's the NFL player that is so quick? He's my favorite, so I'm rooting for his team, the Steelers.  Yes, it's Troy Polamalu! Read this excellent article to find out why I agree he's "head and shoulders above the rest".  I love the opening lines:

"Focus on his hair, and Troy Polamalu will play along. Ask him about his celebrity crush, and he will not.  It's an important distinction in the life of a true warrior."

If you want the "jack rabbit" comment, it was from another article, by Jonathan Mathis.  Want more? Watch this hilarious 1-minute video. (It's not exactly about football...) Still not enough?  You can read several excellent articles posted here on a wonderful blog, Adventures of an Orthodox Mom.

LASTLY, for those of you ladies who found all my football links interesting, but still don't want to watch the Super Bowl - go and rent MISS POTTER. It's one of my favorites! (Be sure to have a tissue box close by!)
Miss Potter


  1. I don't know that I've ever read any of Miss Potter's books, though I did recently put a handful of them on my Kindle. I'm looking forward to reading them.

    The tea arrived today-- thank you!

  2. Wonderful post, Wendy! I've been a Potter fan since childhood and am dying to visit her home in the Lake District someday. (And I too loved the movie about her life.)

    Like you, I was rooting for the Steelers and Troy Polamalu. Too bad - but it was an exciting game, and it's hard not to feel glad for the people of Green Bay. I remember the feeling of a Super Bowl win very well.

  3. So true, Carol, always fun to have an exciting game! I have to admit, I felt happy for the Packers and their All American Aaron (as my son refers to him!). He deserved MVP. There's always next year for #43 and the Steelers! And regarding the movie - so glad they kept it so close to the real story. I really hadn't known so many details about her until I saw it.

    Sarah - glad the tea arrived! You'll love holding the real books someday when your little one is old enough. They are adorable in their small format - and if you watch MISS POTTER, you'll know how important it was to her that they got the printing colors just right for the books! She was very adamant that the integrity of her artwork come across on the printed page!