Children's, Fiction

The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit

Cover image for The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompsonby Emma Thompson

Illustrated by Eleanor Taylor

Based on the works of Beatrix Potter

ISBN 978-0-7232-6910-6

 “He came upon a sign which read ‘KEEP OUT.’ I imagine it will not surprise you to hear that Peter did not KEEP OUT. He WENT IN.”

Despite having run afoul of Mr. MacGregor in Beatrix Potter’s classic The Tales of Peter Rabbit, young Peter has not reformed his ways. Feeling restless and longing for a change of scene, he contents himself with raiding a picnic basket on the MacGregor farm. But when he falls asleep in the basket after gorging himself, he wakes up to find himself on the wished-for adventure after all; the MacGregors have inadvertently taken him to Scotland. Escaping the wrath of the MacGregors for eating their picnic, Peter becomes lost in the wilds of Scotland. Fortunately for Peter, there are rabbits in Scotland, too.

Thompson’s tale takes Peter slightly farther afield than Potter’s original works, many of which took place within the confines of Hill Top Farm. However, the adventure fits Peter’s character. Unfortunately, the portrayal of Scotland is slightly cliché, with the action focusing on Peter attending a Highland Games for rabbits. Despite this limited scope, Taylor’s portrayals of the Scottish landscape are quite lovely. In general, although a very good imitation of Potter’s style, Taylor’s illustrations are slightly rounder, brighter, and more cartoonish than the original books.

The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit has been published as a large picture book, a decision which seriously underestimates the distinguishing charm and appeal of Potter’s child-sized volumes. A smaller edition more in keeping with Potter’s style is available in the UK (ISBN 9780723276333). Included with the large picture book is an audio CD, on which Thompson performs a lively reading of the book complete with musical accompaniment, undoubtedly useful if you have children who always want you to “read it again!”

Children are unlikely to be bothered by the differences between Potter’s style and her modern successors, but adult fans may not find all they are hoping for here. Nevertheless, The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit is a charming revisitation of a beloved character, and a prime opportunity to introduce a new generation of readers to Potter’s classic tales.

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