More than 120 years have passed since The Tale of Peter Rabbit was first published, but Beatrix Potter's short stories continue to be amongst the most popular children's books ever written. Curious to know more about The Tale of Peter Rabbit? Read on for five amazing facts about a certain naughty bunny who just can't seem to stay out of Mr. McGregor's garden.
1. Beatrix Potter had a pet rabbit named Peter
That's right, Beatrix Potter was drawing from real life when she wrote The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Potter owned a Belgian buck rabbit named Peter Piper, and borrowed his first name for her fictional main character. But Peter Piper wasn't the first bunny to inspire Beatrix Potter. Prior to Peter, she owned another rabbit named Benjamin Bouncer, who she referred to as the original Benjamin Bunny—another popular character from her short stories!
2. Beatrix Potter developed her drawing skills in nature
Part of the charm of The Tale of Peter Rabbit undoubtedly lies with the iconic illustrations. Beatrix Potter was fascinated by the natural world and spent a lot of time observing and sketching the plants and animals around her (including her pet bunnies). We like to think we did her work justice with this charming Peter Rabbit art print, created using the text of 14 short stories by Beatrix Potter!
3. Walt Disney wanted to make a The Tale of Peter Rabbit film
Walt Disney was behind some of the most famous animated films of all time, so it makes sense that he'd want to try his hand at immortalizing Potter's work too. Following the popularity of the animation Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Disney approached Beatrix Potter about making an animated version of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Although it's not clear why, Potter refused. Some believe it's because she wanted to maintain full control over her work!
4. The Tale of Peter Rabbit started out as a letter to a friend
In 1893, eight years before The Tale of Peter Rabbit would officially be published, Beatrix Potter sat down to pen a 'get well soon' card for a friend's son. Unsure of what to write, she decided to tell a story instead. It opened with the line:
"I shall tell you a story about four little rabbits whose names were—Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter."
5. Peter Rabbit is incredibly popular in Japan
Perhaps one of the most fascinating The Tale of Peter Rabbits facts is its incredible popularity in Japan. Every year, thousands of Japanese tourists travel to the Lake District to visit Beatrix Potter's house and purchase Peter Rabbit merchandise. The Tale of Peter Rabbit is so beloved in Japan there's even an exact replica of Beatrix Potter's house outside of Tokyo!
What do you love about The Tale of Peter Rabbit? Tell us in the comments below!