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Behind the story of The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots

Editor Jo Hanks tells us about the discovery of the manuscript, hints at the return of our favourite Beatrix Potter characters and why she chose Quentin Blake to illustrate the new tale

beatrix potter, cat

What is the story about?

Potter is the best person to answer this question:

‘It is about a well-behaved prime black Kitty cat, who leads rather a double life, and goes out hunting with a little gun on moonlight nights, dressed up like Puss in Boots. As the gun is only a pop gun (which continually goes off), the bag is neither large nor painful. Miss Kitty ends in a trap, loses one of her boots and a claw, which cures her of poaching.’

The tale really is the best of Potter. It has double identities, several colourful villains and favourite characters from other tales – our treasured, mischievous Peter Rabbit makes an appearance, albeit older, slower and portlier. Mr. Tod, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Ribby and Tabitha Twitchit also make cameo appearances. It’s incredibly humorous.

Why did you decide to ask Quentin Blake to illustrate Kitty?

As soon as we began the conversation about finding an illustrator for The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots, we knew it had to be Quentin Blake.

Quentin revels in rebellious characters and humorous stories with a spiky edge to them; he’s brought anarchic energy to the character of Kitty and embellished her already endearingly flawed character with his trademark wit and charm. Exactly what this fantastic book was calling out for!

How do you feel this new story fits in with the other twenty-three tales?

Very well, the story has all the hallmarks of Potter’s best works. Primarily a funny, relatable and very single-minded animal character whose ambitions are not matched by her talents!

kitty in boots, written form

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