When it comes to children's books, two of the biggest icons are author Beatrix Potter and creator of beautiful and evocative book illustrations (opens in new tab), Quentin Blake. Both have a legion of fans and distinctive style, and this year they finally come together on a new project.
This year will see the publication of The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots, a story by Peter Rabbit creator Beatrix Potter which was lost until two years ago. Discovered by Penguin Random House Children's publisher Jo Hanks, this story focuses on "a well-behaved prime black Kitty cat, who leads rather a double life".
Famous for illustrating the books of Roald Dahl and David Walliams, Quentin Blake was the first choice of illustrator for this landmark book.
"It seemed almost incredible when, early in 2015, I was sent the manuscript of a story by Beatrix Potter; one which had lain unpublished for a hundred years and which, with the exception of a single drawing, she had never illustrated," says Blake.
"I liked the story immediately – it's full of incident and mischief and character –and I was fascinated to think that I was being asked to draw pictures for it. I have a strange feeling that it might have been waiting for me."
Hanks reveals why Blake is the perfect illustrator for the book: "It's a challenging brief to illustrate a manuscript written over a hundred years ago by one of the world's most beloved authors, but we knew that Quentin's energy, rebelliousness and humour were in keeping with Beatrix's own artistic sensibilities and therefore exactly what this fantastic book called out for."
Along with a single colour sketch of Kitty-in-Boots, three manuscripts were found in the V&A archive. As well as the story, PRH will also publish letters related to the making of the tale later in the year.
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