Monday, 22 March 2010

Why Peter Rabbit is not my bunny of the month

I have fallen out of love with one of the most delightful characters in children's literature.

A week or so ago, Peter Rabbit, that naughty but lovable blue-jacketed bunny, waltzed right into my house and got completely inside my head. A couple of days later, he's done my head in completely and managed to get right up my nose.

I was studying hard on Saturday, trying to pad out a 2,000-word Open University essay on why children's picturebooks appeal equally to adults. I was using Peter Rabbit to illustrate my points. Two thousand bloody words, I ask you. There is only so much you can say.

But I really shouldn't take it out on Peter Rabbit for my mistake in studying a level three degree course in children's literature. I realise now, for me, all that analysis and intellectual argument takes the magic away. I just think: 'What a load of absolute bollocks.'

So when Pelly Sheepwash instant messaged me across my laptop and asked if I fancied helping her to look for a mother-of-the-bride outfit, I jumped from my chair with glee.

'I need to get out,' I wailed. 'F*?!*!g Peter Rabbit. And, besides, one of the dogs has got terrible wind.'

So off we went, had an hour or so dressing up, followed by shopping for essentials in Lidl and non-essentials in the Waitrose next door. And then home again, jiggedy-jig. On the table, the Tale of Peter Rabbit was there, waiting for me, like the Black Rabbit of Inlé from Watership Down.

That evening, I decided to give Peter a second chance. I read the book with my four-year-old granddaughter, who knows a thing or two about rabbits because her mother breeds them. She was visibly moved by this illustration where Peter is crying.

I felt awful.

But today, 900 words still to go, those hostile thoughts are creeping back. I'm half hoping the story will have suddenly changed and Peter ends up in Mr McGregor's pie along with his dad.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x


  1. I can't imagine your granddaughter's reaction if she were to find Peter in a pie. You'll have to come up with a different solution.
    Peter emigrating to the New World to work in a coal mine.
    Peter on a sailing ship, ending up in a stew (oops!)
    Peter marrying and settling down as sober paterfamilias to thousands of little bunnies
    .............c'mon Maddie, you can do it!

  2. I never cared much for Peter Rabbit and company. I dutifully read them to my own kidlets when they were small and they were just as disinterested as I. I can't imagine attempting an essay on the subject. Good luck to you. :)


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