New Beatrix Potter book released today

Today brings exciting news for Beatrix Potter fans: Penguin Random House has released a never-before-published book discovered a century after it was written. 

Brought to life with illustrations by Quentin Blake, famous for his drawings in the Roald Dahl books, "The Tale of Kitty-In-Boots" is an instant bestseller sure to delight longtime fans and win over new ones. 

Penguin editor Jo Hanks shares the story of discovering Potter's manuscripts in a museum in this Q&A

Beatrix Potter wrote the story in 1914 but never illustrated it. World War I was beginning, and farming -- it is assumed -- demanded all of her attention. 

The story chronicles Kitty, whose elderly owner considers the cat "serious" and "well behaved," but whose taste for adventure compels her to lead a double life, sneaking out in boots at night to hunt for her friend Winkiepeeps.

Along the way, Kitty runs into characters well loved by Potter fans, including Mrs. Tiggly-Winkle, Mr. Tod, Ribby, Tabitha Twitchit and even an older rabhabit in a blue jacket who looks like a portly, grown-up Peter Rabbit. 

"I feel as though it's one of her best-written tales," Hanks told CNN. "It's a brilliant story; she is a fantastic storyteller, and her characters are always good fun. They never fail to thrill or delight or make you laugh, and Kitty does all of those things. But she is also relatable." 

In classic Potter form, "Kitty-In-Boots" credits young readers for being intelligent and makes them feel in-the-know. 

It is a lively 69-page hardcover, and -- bonus! -- it comes with an audio CD read by Helen Mirren. (Having just recovered from a sore throat, I appreciate a disc that can read to my children. Helen does it with verve and charm.) 



Christina Ries is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and two young girls in Inver Grove Heights. Write her at