English author and illustrator Beatrix Potter was born
in 1866 and published her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, 38 years later. Before then, she learned as much as she could about the world around her, specifically, the animal world around her. She became a botanist and a conservationist, which used in created her famed children’s books that feature anthropomorphic characters, such as Peter Rabbit. The bunny is just one of her beloved fictional creations that have garnered the author a spot on favorite authors lists worldwide. Another one is a little duck named Jemima Puddle-Duck.
The duck appeared first in The Tale of Tom Kitten before he broke out and got a story of his own. The protagonist in The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck isn’t permitted to keep eggs she lays on the farm, so she tries to find another nesting place, this time in the forest. A lovely, gentleman fox discusses the duck’s dilemma and talks her into building a nest at a house with plenty of feathers, although no feathered animals live there. The wile fox then convinced Jemima to collect herbs, the kind typically used in stuffing duck. But the reuse is revealed by the farm collie, Kep, who rescues her from the fox’s lunch menu. She eventually finds a place to hatch her four eggs back at the farm.
Like her many other books, The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck is filled with Beatrix Potter’s own artwork. Her soft, pastel watercolors stand the test of time. They are delightful and detailed, although many of them have been diminished by the many reprints over the years. But modern printing techniques have allowed the book’s publisher to repair the damage and make the illustrations look almost as they looked when Beatrix Potter created them.
Everyone has their favorite character, whether it’s Peter Rabbit, Hunca Munca, Tom Kitten, or the naïve protagonist in The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck. And you don’t have to be a child to enjoy this wonderful, 64-page tale. Adults who read this book to their kids often take pleasure in the stories because they remember reading them when they were children. Someday, your kids will be telling their own children about Jemima and the deceptive fox.