Beatrix Potter and Her Paint Box

David McPhail. Holt, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9170-0
In this tranquil portrait of Peter Rabbit creator Potter, McPhail (Bunny's First Spring) imagines her life as a budding artist growing up in London with her mother, father, and brother. As a child, Potter painted pictures of her family pets, including her rabbit, a mouse named Henrietta ("who once scampered across her paint box, leaving tracks everywhere!"), and a lizard; during summers in the countryside, she painted sheep and toadstools. When an adult Potter learned that a friend's child had fallen ill, she wrote a story for him (remembering a period of illness from her own childhood, during which she was confined to bed), which becomes The Tale of Peter Rabbit. McPhail frames his warm, ink-and-watercolor scenes within tidy borders, creating a feeling akin to peering inside the rooms of a dollhouse. He also pays homage to Potter's work by way of a rabbit, which reappears beside the text on several pages, and this book's small format itself: "Beatrix insisted that the books be small," he explains. " ‘Little books for little hands,' she said." Ages 4–8. Agent: Faith Hamlin, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/05/2015
Release date: 10/06/2015
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