Linda Elovitz Marshall grew up near Boston, graduated from Barnard College, and raised four children and a flock of sheep on a farm in the Hudson Valley of New York. She is the author of several books for young readers. Marshall lives with her family in Selkirk, New York.
Ilaria Urbinati is an illustrator who lives in Italy in a nice city near the mountains called Turin. Like Beatrix, she draws all the time with her computer and her watercolors (she loves them!), and she enjoys taking long walks in a nearby park. There, she meets squirrels and birds, and pets every dog and cat she comes across. She has no rabbit, but her dream is to live with a cat in a house full of books and paintings.
Beatrix Potter's extraordinary life is introduced to a new
generation of readers in this picture book biography. Marshall
highlights not only Potter's career as a children's book
illustrator and author but also her role as a trailblazing
businesswoman, amateur scientist, and conservationist. In a time
when women were not encouraged to have lives outside of the home,
let alone run businesses, Potter paid to have the first copies of
The Tale of Peter Rabbit published. She then merchandised her books
through tea sets, games, and toys. Her ambitions didn't stop with
children's books. Potter researched and illustrated an academic
paper on how mushrooms reproduce and submitted it to scientists,
only to have her work dismissed because she was a woman. Perhaps
most remarkably, Potter was an ardent conservationist and purchased
and then donated thousands of acres of farmland in England's Lake
District to the National Trust. Urbinati's art provides a pleasant
backdrop to the story line. End pages incorporate sketches of some
of Potter's beloved characters. Source material and an author's
note about Marshall's inspiration for the book are included in the
back matter. VERDICT A worthwhile addition to most collections,
particularly those needing more biographies of innovative
women. Empowering and fresh.-- "School Library Journal"
Drawing delicately rendered bunnies was Beatrix Potter's unlikely path to financial independence and self-sufficiency in a time when women faced serious obstacles to both. In forthright language, this picture book biography recounts her boundary-breaking life as she grows from a nature-loving child with a menagerie of pets (including a rabbit, Benjamin Bouncer) into a successful artist and canny entrepreneur. After self-publishing The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she copyrighted her work and expanded the rabbit's world: "She also designed toys, games, and tea sets, and she put pictures of Peter Rabbit on them." With her earnings, she bought property-an unusual move for an unmarried woman-eventually acquiring multiple farms and bequeathing them to the U.K.'s National Trust to "save the countryside that inspired her books." Though Urbinati's detailed illustrations skew sweeter than Potter's own, they appreciably capture Potter's grit and determination, as well as the enduring charm of her artwork and the animal-filled, windswept countryside she drew. An attractive introduction to an iconic creator. Ages 4-8.-- "Publisher's Weekly"