A new story by one of the world's most popular children's book writers has been discovered, and it features none other than the beloved character Peter Rabbit — although he's put on a little weight. Penguin Random House publisher Jo Hanks found the long-lost book by British children's author Beatrix Potter at London's Victoria & Albert Museum in 2013, but the announcement was delayed so its publication later this year would coincide with the 150th anniversary of Potter's birth.
The manuscript, Kitty-in-Boots, features a "well-behaved prime black kitty cat, who leads rather a double life," Hanks told the London Times, according to The Washington Post.
"The tale really is the best of Beatrix Potter. It has double identities, colorful villains and a number of favorite characters from other tales — most excitingly, Peter Rabbit makes an appearance, albeit older, slower and portlier," Hanks elaborated to The Bookseller.
Kitty-in-Boots was written in 1914, the year World War I began and Potter's father died; the book, while clearly intended to be published, was likely obstructed by the war and Potter's recent marriage and move to a sheep farm. Potter died in 1943.
Meet Kitty in Boots, a previously unknown character created by Beatrix Potter (and re-imagined by Quentin Blake) pic.twitter.com/cMLpBZewFZ
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) January 26, 2016
Potter's best known work, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, was published in 1902 to instant acclaim. The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots will be released in the United States in September, with illustrations by Quentin Blake. Jeva Lange