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Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit, written by Emma Thompson and illustrated by Eleanor Taylor. Frederick Warne, Penguin. 2013. $21.00 ages 3 and up

"The cousins set about playing
rabbit cricket with holly-berries
and fir cones when William
sauntered by.
WILLIAM was a turkey.
He was a puffed-up person,
full of his own importance.
Nothing made him happier that
his bold, brave fan of tail feathers
which rattled upon the cobbles
as he strutted about."

Apparently, rabbits are 'uppity' as Christmas nears. Or, so says Emma Thompson in her second book about Peter Rabbit. To keep out of their respective mother's hair, Peter and Benjamin Bunny find themselves outside, each running an errand for their mother. ( I know that ploy!)

That is how they come to meet William, who struts like a peacock and is quick to share the wonder of living with the McGregors. They never ask him to run errands; instead, they offer treats every day and 'nothing is too good' for William. He even lets the young rabbits know that the McGregors are going to have him for dinner very soon. Appalled that the turkey doesn't know that the farmer means on the table, not at the table, the two bunnies decide that they must tell William what he will not be pleased to, not at all!

William, as any smug gobbler worth his salt would, does not believe a word they say until Peter surprises him with news of his own father's fate at the hands of the McGregors. William is desolate. The bunnies return home, worry etched on their faces concerning their new friend who is about to come to a gruesome end. While serving a time-out for forgetting to complete their assigned tasks, they make a plan. Will it work?

Listening to Emma Thompson read this story on the included CD (as I am writing this post) makes my heart sing. She is brilliant at it! I am sure she couldn't possibly be happier with the result. The story itself is such a lovely new Christmas tale. It's wonderful to welcome these familiar and beloved characters, originally created by Beatrix Potter, back. In Ms. Thompson's deft hands they continue their adventures and I, for one, am delighted to join them.

I do hope there is another on the horizon!

If you would like to meet the real William, be sure to check this out:

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