and her creatures of field and farm are doing the same. Susan Witting Albert’s Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series closely follows the life of that amazing lady who did as much for land and culture preservation as she did for bunnies. The author weaves the fantasy aspects (in which the animals converse, solve mysteries and offer help around the village) among the fictional and biographical elements in such a way that the rapt reader can swallow them whole.
The eight-novel series begins with The Tale of Hill Top Farm and introduces us to Beatrix, assorted villagers, and the elder Potters who are positively Dickensian, in their treatment of others. The books follow Beatrix’s buying farm property and stock and attempting to make the sites beautiful as well as profitable. These activities, by the way, are not the normal doings of a proper Victorian lady and are frowned on by quite a few folks, including her bewildered parents. Still, her life, with the exception of the challenges which make the stories possible, makes you want to run out and start growing flocks and phlox!
In each novel, Beatrix (with assorted animals) solves fairly minor mysteries as she attempts to be a dutiful daughter while, at the same time, separating herself from her parents’ iron grasp. That part is all true, except for the animals’ input, but then . . . you never know. The books, which are escapism with a dash of British history thrown in, transport us to village life in Near Sawrey at the turn of the last century. This series has turned me into a total Potterite - no, not the one who twirls a wand while commanding, “Wingardium Leviosa” (although he, too, has captured my heart) but the one who says,“. . . behave yourself and never mind the rest.”
To learn more about this and other books, visit the Boulder City Library at 701 Adams Boulevard, 293-1281, www.bouldercitylibrary.org