Skip To Content

    11 Reasons Beatrix Potter Was The Most Charming Pen Pal Ever

    The author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit wrote charming illustrated letters. In honor of her 147th birthday, here are some selections from her correspondence with Noel Moore between 1892 and 1900, courtesy of the Morgan Library & Museum.

    1. She describes the real Peter Rabbit. Not one to be fettered by reality, she then draws a picture of rabbits throwing snowballs.

    "My rabbit Peter is so lazy": maybe the most adorable independent clause in any letter, ever.

    2. She writes about feeding buns to elephants, and about not being allowed to feed the ostriches because "a naughty boy gave them old gloves + made them ill."

    Presumably, that drawing towards the middle is a drawing of a naughty boy feeding old gloves to an ostrich.

    3. Just look at that mouse bundled up in an armchair.

    4. She doesn't shy away from the ugly side of things. There's a fox with a dead bird in his mouth!

    5. She describes branches as "quite covered with chickens."

    6. She reminds you to appreciate the little things.

    "It is such a pretty place, and we have a boat," she writes.

    7. When she knows you've been sick, she sends the illustrated conclusion of the "Owl and the Pussy cat."

    Her letters also teach you how to drive a bargain.

    8. She knows that just because you're a dog named Stumpy doesn't mean you're not a gentleman.

    Or rather "a polite grave gentleman."

    9. And, like all the better pen pals, she is not too proud to admit she's offended when a dog named Stumpy snubs her.

    "He is such a polite grave gentleman, but so proud! I meet him out shopping in the morning, he looks at me sideways but he never speaks."

    10. Her letters are a little window into her precious mind.

    "Indeed the cottages are so little, I think they must have been meant for cats and dogs!" A supposition as unlikely as it is winning.

    11. And she felt bad when she didn't have time to draw more pictures.

    "I am going today to a place called the Lizard so I have no time to draw any more pictures." So sweet of her to explain!