Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter

First published October 1905
59 pages, 28 color illustrations

Little Lucie has lost her handkerchiefs and pinny. On her quest to recover them, she discovers the woodland laundress, Mrs. Tiggy-winkle.

The History Behind the Tale:
The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle did not start out as a picture letter. It is, however, a story about a real little girl (Lucie Carr) and a real hedgehog, Beatrix Potter's pet Mrs. Tiggy-winkle. The notion of making Mrs. Tiggy-winkle a laundress came from Beatrix knowing Kitty MacDonald, a washerwoman in Scotland where the Potters spent their summers when Beatrix was a child.

Work on Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle began as early as 1901, but the manuscript went through many changes before it was published in 1905 (Linder 155). The original manuscript from 1902 mentioned many more animals and their laundry than the published manuscript does (Linder 163).

It is interesting to note that the color of Lucie's cloak in the illustrations was a much discussed subject. Originally, the cloak was red. Later, Beatrix changed it to blue. Ultimately, Beatrix and her editor/publisher Norman Warne decided that brown suited the overall illustrations best (Linder 157?)

Miniature Letters (Linder 78-79):
Josephine Rabbit to Mrs. Tigggy-winkle
Mrs. Tiggy-winkle to Jospehine Rabbit
Josephine Rabbit to Mrs. Tigggy-winkle
Mrs. Tiggy-winkle to Drew Fayle (a real little boy)
Flopsy Bunny to Drew Fayle
Jeremy Fisher to Mrs. Tiggy-winkle
Jeremy Fisher to Mrs. Tiggy-winkle

These miniature letters are all about the washing Mrs. Tiggy-winkle does for the animals.

My thoughts: So far, The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is one of my favorites (next to Peter Rabbit & Squirrel Nutkin). It reads like a fairy tale. Lucie is an endearing little girl. Mrs. Tiggy is delightful. I love that she does washing for all the characters we've met and some we haven't been introduced to yet.

Favorite Illustrations: Mrs. Tiggy-winkle (frontispiece), Lucie looking up the hill (12), Mrs. Tiggy-winkle smiling (24), Mrs. Tiggy-winkle getting an iron (31), Mrs. Tiggy-winkle and Lucie taking tea (47), Mrs. Tiggy-winkle as "nothing but a headgehog" (58)

-Mrs. Tiggy-winkle's washing scavenger hunt (hide the washing for the children to find)
-Sing-along (Mrs. Tiggy loves to sing as she works)
-Stuffed animal tea party
-Mrs. Tiggy colouring sheet at the official Peter Rabbit website
-Mrs. Tiggy's wordsquare at the official Peter Rabbit website

I hope you've enjoyed my discussion of The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle. Next week, I'll be discussing The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-pan.

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