A 'Lost' Beatrix Potter Story Will Be Published for the First Time

Penguin / Penguin

More than a century after it was written, a lost story from classic children's author Beatrix Potter is now set to be published for the first time this September.

The rediscovery of the story titled The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots began two years ago when publisher Jo Hanks found a letter Potter had mailed to her publisher in 1914. The note made reference to an unedited manuscript featuring a “a well-behaved prime black Kitty cat, who leads rather a double life.”

No such book had yet been seen by the public, but a search through London’s Victoria and Albert Museum archives turned up three manuscripts handwritten in notebooks, a dummy book containing a portion of the typeset manuscript, a pencil sketch of the antagonist Mr. Tod, and a rough color sketch of the title character. Though Potter never got around to finishing the book, letters of hers found in the archives suggest that she had planned to. She blamed a series of disruptions—including farm life, marriage, and the start of World War I—for taking her away from her work. Potter, who died in 1943, was never able to pick up where she left off and the story remained incomplete.

Now for the first time, the lost tale will be made available to a new generation of readers through Potter’s original publisher Frederick Warne & Co (they’ve since become an imprint of Penguin Random House children’s books). The book will feature brand new illustrations from Quentin Blake, the children’s illustrator most famous for bringing Roald Dahl’s characters to life. And for Beatrix Potter fans holding out for more Peter Rabbit material, the publisher says readers can expect a cameo from an “older, slower, and portlier” version of the character in this new story.

[h/t: The Guardian]