More Stories with Peter Rabbit (Crew Review)
I think most of us are familiar with the classic story of Peter Rabbit and the mischief he got into when he disobeyed his mother and wandered into Mr. McGregor’s garden. If you love children’s literature you’re probably aware that the British author of the story wrote a few other books that included this beloved character. However, if you are like me, you may not know that the American publisher of the story, Henry Altemus, also published several sequels featuring Peter (written by Duff Graham), which are far less familiar. Thanks to Kinder Cottage Publishing, these classic stories have been republished for a new generation to discover and enjoy.
The entire series, including the original story, includes ten books ideal for children ages 3-9. We were given copies of Peter Rabbit at the Farm and Peter Rabbit and the Little Boy to review, and if you and your children enjoy reading about Peter Rabbit, I would encourage you to check out these books (and the rest of the series) on the Kinder Cottage website. Both books are rather small 64-page hardbacks (5×7 inches). I was a little surprised at how diminutive they were, but it didn’t detract from our enjoyment of the stories. In fact, it made them easy for little hands to manage on their own.
I read the books to my 3 older children and then left them out on our coffee table to see how popular they were. Over the next couple weeks Elijah (4) read one to Arianna once, but then he pretty much left them alone. Arianna (2) brought one to me to read to her again and enjoyed flipping through them. I saw Ian (6) pick them up a few times to read on his own. I think enjoyed the stories the most, probably because he is the most familiar with Peter Rabbit.
The Kinder Cottage website only provides samples from each book rather than summaries, which I would have found helpful, so here are my own brief summaries of the two books we reviewed.
In Peter Rabbit at the Farm, Peter is off looking for mischief and meets up with various animals around Mr. McGregor’s farm. Sometimes Peter is helpful and wise; other times he’s just looking for fun. The story doesn’t have any real conflict and is basically just a series of interactions between Peter and the animals around him. At the end of the book, Old Mother Rabbit tries to extract a promise from him to be good and not run away again, but Peter has already fallen asleep, leaving the reader to assume there will be more adventures with the mischievous little rabbit.
In Peter Rabbit and the Little Boy, Peter once again disobeys his mother and heads off in search of adventure in forbidden territory. Along with his cousin Jack-the-Jumper, he gets into various sorts of mischief, eventually meeting a little boy who plays with the two rabbits and offers them a ride home with his grandfather, who turns out to be Mr. McGregor. The book is definitely a product of another era, with a character called the Scissors Man who asks the little rabbits if they’ve been obeying their mothers and then frightens them with the story of how he once cut off the thumb of a little boy who wouldn’t stop sucking it when his mother told him. I was glad we didn’t have any thumb-suckers listening to the story, but my children didn’t even seem to notice, instead focusing (as I’m sure the author intended) on the message that children need to obey their mothers.
Other Crew Members have been reviewing the rest of the series, so if you and your children want to spend more time with Peter Rabbit be sure to visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to find out more about the other titles. Then visit kindercottage.com, where each book sells for just $4.00 (a great deal considering the $12.95 price listed on the back covers). If you want the whole set, they sell all ten books for $30. Plus Kinder Cottage is offering readers of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and TOS Crew Reviews a chance to save even more. Enter coupon code TOS to receive a 20% discount off the product price on their website. After Ian saw the list of titles on the back he asked if we could get the rest of the series, and with that kind of a discount, I may end up getting the rest of the series to give him as a gift!