Speed Reads

once upon a time

New Beatrix Potter book discovered with an older, fatter Peter Rabbit

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.

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.