By Kristen E. Strubberg Editor-in-Chief
Over 110 years after first edition of The Tale Peter Rabbit was published, a new story by children’s author Beatrix Potter has been found in the Victoria and Albert Archives. The unpublished manuscript, titled “The Tale of Kitty and Boots”, was rediscovered by Jo Banks, a publisher for Penguin Random House.
The trail begins 2 years ago when Ms. Banks noticed a reference to the unfamiliar Potter story in an out-of-print literary history of the author. The history, compiled by Leslie Linder in 1971, mentions an until then unknown character, the titular “Kitty”. The book also referred to a letter Potter wrote to her editor Harold Warne regarding the story’s original manuscript.
Following this clue, Ms. Banks went to the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Beatrix Potter Archives. Collaborating with museum archivists, Ms. Banks and team discovered three unedited manuscripts of “Kitty in Boots” along with layout suggestions, sketches, and one watercolor illustration of Kitty.
Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit was named for Peter Piper, on of her childhood pets. (Image Credit: Wikicommons)
The story centers around a black cat who lives one life by day as “Kitty” with her owner but leads another, secret life by night as “Miss Catherine St. Quintin” who styles herself as adventurer Puss-in-Boots. Beloved characters Peter Rabbit and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle make appearances as well as villainous Mr. Tod.
The artist Quentin Blake, famous for his work with author Roald Dahl, has agreed to complete the story’s illustrations. The release date for “Kitty in Boots” has been set for this September to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s birth.