The Missing Illustration

I was surprised in class when we stopped to discuss the picture of Mrs. McGregor cooking Peter Rabbit’s father into a pie because it wasn’t in my edition of the book at all. I proceeded to look at a couple other versions of Peter Rabbit online and noticed a bunch of other editions had also completely omitted that image and combined the text to fit a single image. I even had a hard time finding the image at all for the blog.

We talked about how this image really kind of interrupts the narrative because it is frightening and depicts a certain level of violence. Its style differs from the other romanticized, whimsical illustrations of nature and animals. I think the depiction of Mrs. McGregor and this seemingly hungry dog/wolf gives a more tangible idea of what could happen to Peter and generates a heightened sense of fear throughout Peter’s adventure that is not present without the illustration. I found strange not to have it in my edition of the book because I am sure it would have caught my eye as I was reading the story. On the other hand, I thought the narrative and the images flowed really well, which I think would not have been the case with the image above inserted in the story. However, Beatrix Potter likely intended the image to be shocking for the readers since the style appears to be so different just for that one image. Why do you think some publishers chose to leave it out?

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