Tuesday, June 3, 2014

REVIEW: Peter Rabbit at the Farm and Peter Rabbit and the Little Boy by Kinder Cottage Publishing

My kids and I got to review a couple of wonderful story books called Peter Rabbit at the Farm and Peter Rabbit and the Little Boy by Kinder Cottage Publishing.

 

WHAT IS IT?:

The stories of Peter Rabbit were originally written by Duff Graham for the Henry Altemus company over 90 years ago.  Naturally, that means some of the words used to refer to certain things have evolved in our language over time.

That’s where Kinder Cottage Publishing comes in!  They’ve adapted these wonderful stories into more modern language that kids today can understand (after all, we don’t call a bicycle a velocipede any more!).  Full-color illustrations have been carefully preserved in these editions.

These heartwarming stories of Peter Rabbit come in 5.25” x 7.5” hardcover books that are just right for little hands.  Enjoy them with your children and recall the stories you knew so well as a child yourself!

These books are available for just $4 each or $30 for the complete set of 10 hardcover books.  They are ideal for children ages 3-9.

 

OUR EXPERIENCE:

Although my 9-year old daughter and my 6-year old son are capable of reading these books themselves, I decided to use them as read-aloud bedtime stories.  They’d be a little too long for my son to read by himself in one sitting, but the biggest reason for me to read them aloud is because the Peter Rabbit stories were a real treasure to me as a child.  I fondly remember checking them out from the library at school when I was an elementary student myself, and I loved reading them over and over again.  So the chance to read these lovely stories again to my own children was something I couldn’t pass up, as they brought up all kinds of warm, fuzzy feelings in me, too.

We started off with Peter Rabbit and the Little Boy first.  Now I was not familiar with this particular story, so I honestly had just as much anticipation as to how it would end as my kids did.

As usual, Peter Rabbit disobeys his mother and gets himself into a pickle.  While she was out, he slipped away to a forbidden place to fly his kite, which he promptly lost in a tree.  As he wandered off rather bored, his mood quickly changed when he came upon his beloved cousin, Jack-the-Jumper.  As they thought of places to go together, Peter settled on going into the wood just because it was the most forbidden place of all.

Playing along the way, they stumbled upon a peddler pushing a cart that held a sharpening wheel for scissors.  The odd “Scissors Man” must have suspected the two rabbits were misbehaving, because he told them he once had to cut off the thumb of a little boy who hadn’t obeyed his mother!  Well, of course, they were quite scared of this fellow, so they ran away as fast as they could.  Then they came upon the bird, Bobby Blue Jay, making all kinds of noise.  They soon realized he was warning them that a hawk was about to swoop down and get them.  Just in time, they went down into the hole beneath a tree to hide.  That was close!

After some time when they were sure they were safe, they emerged from the hole and headed off to Mr. McGregor’s wheat field.  Stopping in the barnyard to chat with an old friend, they came upon his cabbage patch.  They simply couldn’t resist nibbling on the cabbages and did so until they were stuffed!  On their way out, Peter realized that he’d dropped his beautiful watch that he’d received from Mr. Brown. 

Just then, a Little Boy came by and saw Peter crying.  It turned out that the Little Boy had found Peter’s watch already and promptly offered it back to him.  Peter was so happy!  Then the Little Boy asked the bunnies to play with him in his tent, where he had lots of toys.  After much play and fun together, the rabbits got ready to head home.  Little Boy offered them each some toys to take home with them, which pleased them very much.  Realizing, though, that they wouldn’t be very successful at carrying their new toys home themselves, Little Boy offers to have his grandfather, Mr. McGregor, take them home in his car.  When Mr. McGregor pulled up, Peter and Jack were absolutely terrified, knowing the many times they’d raided his cabbage patch, but Mr. McGregor seemed to hold no malice and prompted them all to get in.

As they stopped off at each little bunny’s home, Mr. McGregor called to Peter to come back and see the Little Boy again, but to stay out of his cabbage patch!  But Peter had other things to worry about as he entered his house and faced his mother.  She promptly sent him to bed without any supper.

The next day, Peter told his family all about his adventures and shared with them all the lovely presents that Little Boy had given him.  Mother admitted that perhaps she’d been a little harsh with Peter, but she used the opportunity to teach the younger bunnies a lesson about the great danger Peter had encountered by disobeying and to remind Peter that she always has his safety in mind when she gives him instructions about what not to do.

I have to admit I was quite surprised that Mr. McGregor was kind to Peter in this story!  All the stories I’d read before involved Mr. McGregor chasing Peter and trying to catch him to cook him for dinner or go after him with a hoe or some such thing!  I certainly didn’t anticipate that he would show him kindness and be so forgiving as he was in this story, and what a lovely story indeed!  So many good lessons for my children were immersed in these pages.  The kids really loved this story and listened attentively, and we had little discussions along the way about what we thought might happen next and how naughty Peter was being as he made so many bad decisions along the way.

The next story I read to them was Peter Rabbit at the Farm.  This story wasn’t as wordy and involved as the other one, and every 2-page spread had a short bit of story and a full-page color illustration.  As a result, this story caught and kept the attention of my 6-year old son much better, and he came over and sat in my lap so he could see the pictures better as I ready the story.  Whereas the other story was lengthier and had more of a plot, so my 9-year old daughter much preferred that one.

Peter Rabbit at the Farm was about yet another adventure of Peter Rabbit.  He slipped out of the house unnoticed and went running off to see what kind of mischief he could get into.  Along the way, he collided with Little Pollie Possum and knocked over her basket of persimmons she’d taken from Mr. McGregor’s garden.  But because he was apologetic and quickly picked them all up for her, she was inclined to forgive him and even offered him a persimmon to eat, which made Peter very happy.

As he went along again, he stumbled upon Little Goosie Poosie crying.  He asked what was wrong and discovered that the little pond where Goosie Poosie liked to swim had almost dried up, and she didn’t know how to fix it.  So Peter offered to help and soon discovered that the muskrat family had dug a hole in the dam and let all the water run out.  So with the help of the other animals on the farm, Peter soon repaired the hole, and the water filled up again.  As Peter cheered and danced on the bank of the pond, he slipped in and got his clothes all wet, so he hung them up to dry and hid in the bushes while he waited.

Once Peter was able to get dressed again, he went off adventuring around Mr. McGregor’s farm with Little Goosie Poosie.  Peter made friends with Old Growler, the farmer’s watchdog, and gave him a bone.  Then he met the horse, Silver Tail, and tossed her an apple.  Then Peter had fun watching the little wooly lambs frolic on the hillside.  Then off to the barn he went to watch Sukey the big red cow being milked by the hired man.  But Peter snuck up too close, and the hired man gave him a kick.  As Peter jumped away, he jumped right into a milk bucket!  He ran off to hide in a pile of hay and almost got eaten by Thomas, the big stable cat, who thought Peter was a big rat.  But luckily, Little Goosie Poosie came to the rescue.  Then Peter and Thomas made friends, and Peter let him lick all the milk of his jacket. 

After all the excitement, Peter decided it was time to head home, so after saying goodbye to all of his farm friends, Peter slipped off through the corn field, but quickly became lost.  Just then, he noticed Old Jim Crow in the field and thought he could help Peter get out of the corn field.  So Peter snuck up to him and grabbed onto his feet as Old Jim Crow flew away.  Once Peter recognized the ground below him, he let go and tumbled down safely to the road where he could finally make his way home.

When Peter got home and relayed his adventurous day to his brothers and sisters, they were all very frightened.  Mother Rabbit tucked him in and said she hoped he’d not run away again, but Peter was already fast asleep.

This was yet another heartwarming story of adventure from the very precocious little Peter Rabbit.  I thought it worked out well that each of my kids was able to enjoy a story on their level.  I felt that the stories were well-written and easy for my children to understand, and the original illustrations were just delightful.  I very much enjoyed reading them to my kids, and they enjoyed hearing them.

I would definitely recommend you try some of these lovely story books with your kids!  The cover price says $12.95, but Kinder Cottage offers these for just $4 each, so they offer a wonderful opportunity for you to own and enjoy these books with your children.  I also love that they are sized just right for little hands with shiny hardcovers in bright colors that entice children to pick them up.

Take a look at what other Crew members had to say about these and other Peter Rabbit stories from Kinder Cottage Publishing by clicking the banner below.