Thursday 29 September 2016

Review ~ The Tale of Kitty-In-Boots by Beatrix Potter, Quentin Blake (Illustrator) (Audio)

September 2016

"A serious, well-behaved young black cat, who leads a daring double life defeating vile villains."

When I was a little girl I had a much loved copy of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and I can remember the comforting feeling of snuggling under bed covers and having someone read the story to me. The comfort of listening to stories and particularly Beatrix Potter stories has not diminished over time and so when asked to listen and review The Tale of Kitty-In-Boots I jumped at the opportunity, as not only was this a chance to read a completely new story from a much loved author, but also an introduction to listening to stories via Audible.

The Tale of Kitty-In-Boots tells the story of Miss Katherine St Quentin, an intrepid black cat, known as Miss Kitty, who gets herself into all sorts of exciting situations. In a cunningly dangerous adventure she meets the notorious villain, Mr Todd, a foxy hunter with devilish charm and whose outward demeanour belies his deadly intent. Beautifully narrated by the actress, Helen Mirren, the story has an olde-worlde charm which is so reminiscent of Beatrix Potter and yet, there is freshness to the story which makes it feel surprisingly more modern than its more famous counterparts. Written in the years before 1914 it was never published, until now, and personally, I think that this story shows Beatrix Potter at her enigmatic best.

The narration of The Tale of Kitty in Boots lasts around 16 minutes which is a perfect length to listen to the story in one sitting and just enough time for even fidgety children to sit still. The rest of the narration which runs to over 56 minutes continues with the actress, Anna Friel reading five more classic Beatrix Potter tales and which need no introduction from me. 

They are :

The Tale of Peter Rabbit
The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck
The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin
The Tale of Jeremy Fisher

Whilst both narrators are unique in their style of delivery, each individual tale was read with just the right amount of fun and gravitas, all beautifully spoken in a narration which was clean and precise. I especially enjoyed listening to Anna Friel sing Squirrel Nutkin's riddles so beautifully.

I know that there has been some debate around the Quentin Blake illustrations in The Tale of Kitty- In-Boots, which are so very different from Beatrix Potter’s more whimsical interpretation. Having 'listened' to the story I don't have a physical copy to look at, so I can't give an informed appraisal of the illustrations, except to say that what I have seen of the cover, I rather like Blake's depiction of Miss Kitty in her Boots.

Best Read with ...A glass of milk two chocolate digestive biscuits.

Helen Beatrix Potter was an English author, illustrator and conservationist who was best known for her children's books, which featured animal characters such as Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, Jeremy Fisher, et al.

Beatrix Potter

My thanks to for the opportunity to listen to this book and also to Francesca at Midas for the invitation to get to know Miss Kitty-In-Boots. I think Jaffa is a little in love with Miss Kitty !


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