When my son was young, his favorite story was The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Of course, he had hundreds of picture books. I brought books home from the school library and read him all of the newest, brightest, and most prize-winning books. But even after listening to a stack of new books that he seemed to enjoy, he would always hand me the small white book with the rabbit on the cover. Like many parents of Potter fans, I have attributed much of their power to their “just right for small hands” size. But he loved the story – the excitement over Peter being spotted in Mr. McGregor’s garden, Peter hiding in a watering can, and his race back to the safety of the “big fir tree.”
Today Beatrix Potter would have been 145-years-old. The Tale of Peter Rabbit is 110 this year. I have always dreamed of visiting Hill Top Farm, Potter’s home in the English Lake District, but when we’ve been in England, the house has been closed. Eventually we will make the pilgrimage to the home of the author, artist and scientist who is responsible for some of our happiest memories. The Tale of Peter Rabbit’s enduring appeal to young children is a reminder that newer does not always mean better.