The Ultimate Peter Rabbit: A Visual Guide to the World of Beatrix Potter by Camilla Hallinan

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The Ultimate Peter Rabbit: A Visual Guide to the World of Beatrix Potter by Camilla Hallinan

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A wealth of glorious artwork, specially commissioned photographs and informative text make this a book to treasure - for children and adults.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 128 Date: September 2016
Publisher: DK Children
ISBN: 978-0241289655

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I had a deprived childhood: I never knew Peter Rabbit. He'd have been at about his half century by the time I could have been reading him, but books at home didn't go beyond Enid Blyton. Peter was drawing his old age pension by the time that I discovered him when my daughter fell in love with him and - in her turn - read them to her own children thirty years later. He's well past his century now and still delighting children of all ages: he's accessible and relatable and I can't recollect ever meeting a child who didn't have a soft spot for him.

In 2016 it's the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter's birth and Dorling Kindersley have produced this special anniversary edition of The Ultimate Peter Rabbit in celebration of the event. It's a reissue and some reviewers have taken issue with the book because they thought that the title meant they would be getting stories about Peter Rabbit: there are some stories or excerpts, but you need to look at the subtitle. This is a visual guide to the world of Beatrix Potter. Initially I thought that it would be a book aimed only at children, if only because of the wealth of illustrations, but I was surprised to find that I became deeply engrossed in the content.

There are three hundred artworks from the original books and more than fifty specially-commissioned photographs of Beatrix Potter's Lake district home as well as other illustrations, but I'm jumping ahead. We begin by meeting Peter Rabbit and hear about the inspiration behind the books, before moving on to his friends. There are occasional digressions on the way to explore such matters as the Lake District, life in Victorian England (with more detail about how the Potter family lived), the Peter Rabbit dolls and other merchandise and even Peter Rabbit on screen. It's all gently educational, but most of all, it's interesting. It's a subject which I've known quite a bit about for a long time, but I was surprised by the extent to which I met new material - and it's all very easy reading, perfectly pitched at the confident reader.

It's a book to treasure too, with high production values. The paper, which is of a good thickness, is slightly matte, which makes reading easier and there's been no skimping on reproducing the artworks or other illustrations. I liked too that there's a decent index - using one is a skill which it's useful for children to acquire. If you're looking for a gift for a child or an adult who's interested in the subject then this could well be the answer. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

There's been another anniversary recently: why not have look at Alice in Wonderland?

Buy The Ultimate Peter Rabbit: A Visual Guide to the World of Beatrix Potter by Camilla Hallinan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Ultimate Peter Rabbit: A Visual Guide to the World of Beatrix Potter by Camilla Hallinan at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Ultimate Peter Rabbit: A Visual Guide to the World of Beatrix Potter by Camilla Hallinan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Ultimate Peter Rabbit: A Visual Guide to the World of Beatrix Potter by Camilla Hallinan at Amazon.com.


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