cover image Beatrix Potter, Scientist

Beatrix Potter, Scientist

Lindsay H. Metcalf, illus. by Junyi Wu. Albert Whitman, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8075-5175-2

In wondering, lyrical language, Metcalf explores Beatrix Potter’s life before Peter Rabbit, revealing “a girl of science” who “observes... questions... collects ... records” and “when the animals die—after she cries—she removes their flesh to admire their bones.” Potter becomes a self-taught scientist captivated by mushrooms, but, because she is a woman, her mycological work is rejected. “She withdraws her paper, rallies her resolve, and returns to her lab. She sprouts more... observes more... draws more... until she doesn’t.” Though no one knows exactly why Potter stopped, Metcalf’s tale illustrates difficulties of breaking through prejudiced systems. Wu’s softly smudged pictures have a sketchlike quality, fitting for a story that both shows what was and hints at what might have been. Includes an author’s note, timeline, and bibliography. Ages 4–8. [em](Sept.) [/em]