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"Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter ... " In 1902, English parents began reading Beatrix Potter's classic "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" to their children. One hundred years later, Peter's story is told in 35 languages, and the industry built around him includes CD-ROMs, china, baby clothes and Christmas ornaments to the tune of $500 million in international retail sales a year.
Penguin Putnam is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Peter Rabbit, retelling the story of how the world-famous character was based, on a real rabbit that Beatrix and her brother kept as a pet, and how the book originated as a letter written to amuse the ailing child of a former Potter governess. Potter herself was the first to merchandise her creation, securing a patent in 1903 for a doll, a jigsaw puzzle, wallpaper and a game. Learn more, and shop, at www.peterrabbit.com.
Wanda A. Adams, Assistant features editor