July 13, 2021

#08-108: The Tale of Peter Rabbit

book cover with illustration of a small rabbit in a blue coat
The Tale of Peter Rabbit, first edition

Note: Peter is a naughty little rabbit who can't seem to stay out of Mr. McGregor's garden, despite his mother's warnings. Read about his tale is in this lesson!

Get Ready: Do you like cute drawings of little animals in human clothing?

Beatrix Potter, an English writer and illustrator, and later a natural scientist and conservationist, grew up visiting the countryside, and she and her brother kept many small pets, such as mice, rabbits, a hedgehog, and even bats.

In her 30s Potter began selling illustrations to magazines and greeting card companies, mainly of cute little anthropomorphic mice and rabbits. While on holiday, she would send illustrated letters to children she knew, including to the children of her former governess and "lady's companion," Annie Carter Moore. In one of those letters, having run out of things to say, Potter told a story about "four little rabbits whose names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter."

It was Moore who, in 1900, suggested Potter's stories be turned into books. Unable to find a publisher, Potter self-published the first story in 1901. It was picked up in 1902 by publisher Frederick Warne & Co, and was followed by 23 "Tales" over the next three decades, with several other subsidiary books.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit begins with a naughty bunny--one of four being raised by a widowed mother--who just can't seem to keep out of Mr. McGregor's vegetable garden. (It was Mr. McGregor's wife, the children were told, who had put their father into a pie!)

Peter's little sisters--the triplets Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail--never enter the garden. Instead, they go down the lane to gather blackberries. But Peter wants vegetables.

One day in the garden he eats too much, and barely escapes from Mr. McGregor. During an exciting chase, he loses his jacket and shoes, gets lost in the garden, and sneaks past a cat. At last, spying the gate, he runs for it, barely escaping as he wriggles under it. He looks back to see his clothes hanging on a scarecrow made by the farmer.

Peter returns home and falls ill. When his mother notices the missing clothes, she realizes where he has been, since he has lost clothes there before! She puts him to bed with chamomile tea for his stomach, while his sisters have a scrumptious dinner of milk, bread, and blackberries.


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tale_of_Peter_Rabbit

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. anthropomorphic
  2. chamomile tea
  3. conservationist
  4. governess
  5. naughty
  6. scarecrow
  7. scrumptious
  8. subsidiary
  9. triplets
  10. wriggles

  1. a beverage made from a flower
  2. badly behaved
  3. three children born at the same time
  4. supplementary; secondary
  5. delicious
  6. moves by twisting the body; squirms
  7. a figure that looks like a man, to keep birds away
  8. a woman hired to bring up and educate a child
  9. in the form or manner of a human
  10. one who works to preserve nature

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for July 13, 2021

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. i; 2. a; 3. j; 4. h; 5. b; 6. g; 7. e; 8. d; 9. c; 10. f