When I was in preschool, I stayed with my grandparents a few days a week because they lived closer to my school, and it made everyone's life easier. My grandma used to pick me up around lunchtime, while my grandpa was still at work and we had "Grandma-Krystle" time. Since I was only like three or four at the time, I remember very little from those days. Except mozzarella grilled cheese sandwiches cut into four triangles and going to the library with her to check out those little Beatrix Potter books. I loved reading them over and over to my grandparents and then taking them home and forcing my little sister to let me read them to her. So I came across this on the "Letters of Note" website, and it brought me back to the good old days of visiting the library and reading about Peter Rabbit.
Apparently, the story started out as a letter to her friend's child and later she went back and expanded the story for her book. It's funny how that kind of stuff sticks with you more than 20 years later. If FAVL libraries have that long-lasting impact on just a few kids, I think it means we've done our job.
Here's the transcript of the letter from the website. Check out the actual website because they show the original letter with drawings. It's very cute!
Sep 4th 93
My dear Noel,
I don't know what to write to you, so I shall tell you a story about four little rabbits whose names were - Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter.
They lived with their mother in a sand bank under the root of a big fir tree.
"Now my dears," said old Mrs Bunny "you may go into the field or down the lane, but don't go into Mr McGregor's garden."
Flopsy, Mopsy & Cottontail, who were good little rabbits went down the lane to gather blackberries, but Peter, who was very naughty ran straight away to Mr McGregor's garden and squeezed underneath the gate.
First he ate some lettuce, and some broad beans, then some radishes, and then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley; but round the end of a cucumber frame whom should he meet but Mr McGregor!
Mr McGregor was planting out young cabbages but he jumped up & ran after Peter waving a rake & calling out "Stop thief"!
Peter was most dreadfully frightened & rushed all over the garden, for he had forgotten the way back to the gate. He lost one of his shoes among the cabbages and the other shoe amongst the potatoes. After losing them he ran on four legs & went faster, so that I think he would have got away altogether, if he had not unfortunately run into a gooseberry net and got caught fast by the large buttons on his jacket. It was a blue jacket with brass buttons, quite new.
Mr McGregor came up with a basket which he intended to pop on the top of Peter, but Peter wriggled out just in time, leaving his jacket behind, and this time he found the gate, slipped underneath and ran home safely.
Mr McGregor hung up the little jacket & shoes for a scarecrow, to frighten the blackbirds.
Peter was ill during the evening, in consequence of overeating himself. His mother put him to bed and gave him a dose of camomile tea, but Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail had bread and milk and blackberries for supper.
I am coming back to London next Thursday, so I hope I shall see you soon, and the new baby.
I remain, dear Noel, yours affectionately