When did you last read Beatrix Potter’s
“The Tale of Peter Rabbit”?
This is a bit out-of-the-blue, but it’s relevant to my story, so…
>>>>> Pop Quiz Time! <<<<<
[Answers follow the next set of photos.*]
- Where did Peter, his three siblings and his mother make their home? (Extra credit for the siblings’ names.)
- In instructing her bunnies where they could and could not play while she went on her errand, Mother Rabbit reminded them about their father’s accident. What happened?
- Who helpfully implored Peter to exert himself and escape from Mr. McGregor’s garden?
- What was the fate of Peter’s new little blue jacket with brass buttons?
- What did Mother give Peter at bedtime since he was feeling poorly?
(To revisit the story of Peter before checking the answers, follow this link at Lit2Go. It has delightful audio and print formats.)
- They lived in a sandbank, underneath the root of a very big fir-tree. (Peter’s siblings are Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail.)
- While Mother doesn’t go into detail about Father’s accident in Mr. McGregor’s garden, she does say he was put into a pie by Mrs. McGregor.
- Friendly sparrows, who heard Peter sobbing after he was caught by his jacket buttons in a net, wanted to help him make it out to safety.
- Mr. McGregor hung up Peter’s jacket (as well as his abandoned shoes) to frighten the blackbirds.
- Mother Rabbit believed in the healing and soothing power of camomile tea, 1 tablespoon.
Woodland creatures were on my mind as I started this blanket—but it was the argyle that made the story take shape. A patch of argyle here, another there, it made me think about flipping poor little Peter’s story. Just for today, can we get Peter safely home with his new blue jacket on his back and no tummyache from disobeying his momma and gorging on Mr. McGregor’s produce?
I’d love for him to get a better night of sleep.
So as I said, the argyle stirred my imagination.
In this alternate story, there is a well-worn garden sweater (wool, I’m sure) belonging to Mr. McGregor, slung over the handle of the hoe he’s leaned against the fence while he a takes a gardening breather. Does he hustle indoors for a piece of Mrs. McGregor’s currant pie when she calls? Does he follow that up with a nap and neglect putting his tools away? We’re really not sure, because Peter listens to his momma, avoids the garden entirely on this day and plays with his siblings instead. And a couple weeks later fragments of Mr. McGregor’s cozy sweater begin to show up in new habitats: lining a squirrel’s nest, warming a rabbit warren, caught in reeds at a pond’s edge.
The woodland creatures think it is nice of Mr. McGregor to share. The End.
This blanket was made for sweet Baby Caleb, born early October to his eager big sister and his two outdoor-loving doctor-parents (Mom is a pediatrician and Dad is an ER doc). I venture they also know the value of camomile tea—although I learned that when Caleb is feeling poorly, he is soothed by squats (!), performed by whoever is holding him. You just never know with kids.
Congratulations to Brendan, Tiffany and Evelyn and welcome to Caleb! May your family adventures take you out for new discoveries and always return you to the warmth and safety of home—your own sandbank under the big fir-tree.
This is a custom order blanket and has already gone to a good home.
© Joan Olson
“The Woodland Creatures and Mr. McGregor’s Sweater” (36″ x 36″)
Felted wool sweaters