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Part 3: The wonderful world of Beatrix Potter

An illustration from "The Story of Miss Moppet"
An illustration from "The Story of Miss Moppet"
Beatrix Potter

"The Complete Tales"

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For example, some of these “fables” actually warn against naïve trust, senseless desire, and foolish determination, like in The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher. Others, like The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan as well as The Tale of Mr. Tod, describe tit-for-tat situations that teach the main characters a lesson in honesty and virtuous living. It is sometimes startling how many human vices are within Potter’s innocent volumes: violence, robbery, vandalism, obesity, envy, deceit, and theft are only a few examples. Twenty-three individual tales (some of which are interrelated) mean twenty-three interesting examinations of conscience, reprimands, and kindly observations in the middle of accidents, incidents, catastrophes, and simple cases of confusion.

In comparison with Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Windows, Potter uses her sense of humor and her child-like fascination with her subjects to represent human experiences and trials through a comical and satirical ensemble of animals in each of her tales. Even though every story has a hidden lesson or moral, they are flanked by beautiful, charming illustrations by the author herself. Potter clearly demonstrates a deep respect for animals and natural surroundings, frequently decrying human consumption of the inhabitants of her tales and allowing the reader to fully appreciate her outlook on life.

All twenty-three stories in The Complete Tales are available in local libraries and bookstores in Fresno, and online.

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