Is it best to preserve the golden oldies of children’s literature, in their original form? Or should we edit them, and take out the bits we now find shocking?
I was recently offered the chance to review books from The Works. I chose a compendium of classic Beatrix Potter tales.
Peter Rabbit is big these days, especially now CBeebies have beamed the little rodent into the households of children everywhere. But even though my two-year-old, Gwen and four-year-old, Austin don’t watch it as often as their favourites (Melody and Scooby Doo), Gwen in particular insists on frequent readings of the handful of Beatrix Potter-inspired books in the house.
It probably helps that our complement of Beatrix Potter books includes pop-ups, finger puppets, and a set of teeny-tiny versions of the old classics Jemima Puddleduck, Tom Kitten, Jeremy Fisher, Mrs Tiggywinkle etc. They’re not the best quality (the main character in Mrs Tiggywinkle morphs from ‘Lucy’ to ‘Lucie’ at one point – poor, poor editing). But our children’s enthusiasm for the world of inter-related talking animals made me hopeful that the new set of Beatrix Potter books would bring some fresh excitement to our evening storytimes.