The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit Book Poster Image
Peter goes to Scotland in inspired charmer, fun read-aloud.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers get a taste of Scottish life and culture through Finlay McBurney's outfit -- a kilt and boots (a dagger tucked in one) --  the Scottish Games, and his burrow home hung with "bog-cotton," where he sleeps in a bed made of sheepswool and heather and has potato scones for breakfast. Some sophisticated vocabulary, too: "briars," "harebells," "tam-o-shanter," "haggis," "midge."

Positive Messages

There are consequences for misdeeds, and you shouldn't take credit for something you didn't really achieve. There's also a message that family members take care of one another -- even in the case of distant cousins.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Peter is mischievous and does have a tendency to steal food, do things without his parents' permission, and enter places labeled "Keep Out." But he's honest enough to admit that he didn't win "fair and square" rather than take a trophy he doesn't deserve. Finlay McBurney and his wife are kind, caring, and generous in opening their home to Peter and sending him back to his parents. 

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit is an original story by Oscar-wining actress/screenwriter Emma Thompson that's based on the classic Beatrix Potter books. Peter was created in the very early 1900s, but Thompson picks up where Potter left off, and it's a seamless transition, even as she takes the mischievous bunny laddie all the way to Scotland as an accidental stowaway in a picnic basket. The spirit, tone, dry wit, and sweet illustrations by Eleanor Taylor all honor the original while creating a stand-alone delight. The hardcover comes with an audio CD of Thomson reading the story -- and relishing the Scottish accents -- accompanied by lilting music. 

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What's the story?

Peter Rabbit feels he needs a change of scene and squeezes under the gate to once again steal a lettuce from Mr. McGregor's garden, only to find "an interesting basket smelling of onions" and hop in, devouring the picnic lunch inside and falling asleep. When Peter wakes up, he finds the basket is on a moving cart, which has taken him from his home all the way to Scotland. When it stops and he's discovered, he bolts and soon runs into a distant cousin, a big black bunny named Finlay McBurney. Peter is taken into the McBurneys' burrow, fed, and put to bed, and in the morning goes with Finlay to the Games, a competition among different rabbit clans, where Peter's hunger again leads to mischief -- this time in a radish toss that could unseat the champion: Finlay McBurney himself.

Is it any good?

Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson does a fantastic job of capturing the tone, humor, and charm of the original Beatrix Potter stories about the now century-plus-old Peter Rabbit character. And Eleanor Taylor's illustrations are equally true to the source. The story is gentle and dryly witty, either read on the page or dramatically narrated by Thompson on an accompanying audio CD with music. It's especially fun to hear her speak in Finlay McBurney's Scotts accent. The entire package should delight little ones as well as their parents. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes Peter Rabbit a character who has stood the test of time and lives on in a new story. What's so appealing and enduring about him? 

  • What do you think of think of a contemporary author writing a new story using a classic character? Can you think of other books or movies where this is the case? 

  • Do you like reading a book by a movie star? Do you know Emma Thompson from Nanny McPhee or the Harry Potter movies, or as the voice of the mom in Brave

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