new Kitty-in-Boots tale
Beatrix Potter’s unpublished manuscript was found two years ago by Jo Hanks, who works for the publishing company Penguin Random House, (Children’s department) London. The manuscript is a new Beatrix Potter Kitty-in-Boots tale.
Ms Hanks came across the story of Kitty-in-Boots by chance in 2013 after reading an out-of-print biography of Potter (which may have been Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature, by Linda Lear). It mentioned a letter Ms. Potter sent to her publisher in 1914, in which she described Kitty-in-Boots adventures, a tale about a “well-behaved prime black Kitty cat, who leads rather a double life” as a crime-fighter.
But the story was put aside because of various interruptions: the outbreak of World War I; her marriage; illness and a growing interest in farming — which resulted in an unfinished book.
Ms Hunt checked the archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and found three unedited manuscripts of the story, two in children’s school notebooks and one typed, along with a rough sketch of Kitty-in-Boots and the villainous fox Mr Tod. The tale includes Peter Rabbit, one of Potter’s most famous characters, and another Potter favourite, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.
“The tale really is the best of Beatrix Potter. It has double identities, colourful villains and a number of favourite characters from other tales – most excitingly, Peter Rabbit makes an appearance, albeit older, slower and portlier,” Ms Hanks told The Bookseller.
The Illustrations by Sir Quentin Blake. He was chosen because “he understands the rebelliousness of animal characters and doesn’t patronise children, which was one of Potter’s bugbears”, Ms Hunt said. Sir Blake also illustrated Roald Dahl’s children’s books.
The voice in the audiobook version by Dame Helen Mirren, her first audiobook recording. Scheduled release is September, 2016. The book publisher is Frederick Warne & Co, Potter’s original publisher (part of Penguin Random House Children’s). Expected release also in September, 2016. Both coincide with Beatrix’s Potter 150th anniversary of the year of her birth.
Died: December 22, 1943, Near and Far Sawrey, United Kingdom