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on April 7, 2000
AT HOME WITH BEATRIX POTTER is a delight to the eye and the spirit for those who love this children's author and her "little books." It is written by Susan Denyer of Britain's National Trust. (Potter's property was left to the National Trust.) The focus of the book is Hilltop Farm, the first farm Beatrix Potter acquired. Although she lived across the road in Castle Cottage, Potter often used Hilltop for its library, guestroom, and workplaces. She also used it to display her "treasures." This book reveals her love of nature, the English Lake District, and of old things--carved dressers, chests, spinning wheels are a few of the "gems" portrayed. Two-page color spreads convey the beauty of the Lake Area, where Potter became a major landowner, sheepfarmer, and a happily married woman. It is wonderful to see the original places, buildings, and objects that she incorporated into her books (examples are shown side by side). The book's layout, photographs, and design are first-rate. Reading this book reminded me of THE PRIVATE WORLD OF TASHA TUDOR and its wonderful photographs by Richard Brown. Like Tudor, Potter drew what she knew and preferred country to city life. (Tudor also was a working farmer in New Hampshire.) Finally, this book presents information about Beatrix Potter and the things and people she loved in an informative and respectful way. This book is not a biography, and Denyer avoids the biographer's temptation to "sum up" or "explain" Beatrix Potter. Rather, we draw our own conclusions after being exposed to the things Potter loved. The select bibliography at the book's end provides a list of works on and by Potter (her journals and letters have been published) that is very helpful to those who want to know more about this author. This is a book to treasure.
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Being the big fan of Beatrox Potter, the woman and not just the author I was overjoyed to get this as a gift recently and the book is a treat for the eyes. While it has pages and pages of stunning photographs as well as her own water colours, it is the text and complete history of her farms that is awesome.
That and reading and seeing photographs of her as well as her farms and reading why she bought each property and the breeds of sheep she raised was of special interest to me. I loved seeing the inside of her farms, although I had seen the inside of a few, via the National Land Trust to whom she left her properties.
I loved the photographs of Beatrix and how she was so eccentric, kind yet firm and a woman ahead of her time. And it was nice to read that she was a true homestead style woman who had the waste not want not mentality, as well as a deep appreciation for quality and hated to see old bridges torn down for modern ones, although she was quick to make sure the stones and plants, wood and other things being discarded by some, didn't end up in some dump area but were recycled into new walls and buildings and plantings on her property.
This is a book a cottage gardener, keeper of sheep. painters, stone masons and anyone who loves working with their hands will love. As well as sincere environmentalists and organic gardeners and farmers.
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on April 3, 2000
This book is a balanced combination of biographical information, Beatrix Potter's sketches and paintings, and exceptional scenic photography of the Lake District she helped preserve. It also details the exterior and interior of a house she owned which provided the backgrounds for many of her book illustrations. The side-by-side comparisons were interesting, even though the house seemed to be more of a showpiece than her actual residence. (Thus, the book title is somewhat misleading.) I found this book to be of exceptional quality and, although the text was sometimes overwrought with property, town and house names, the book includes many captioned photos and a map that allow the reader to appreciate the area in which she lived.
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on June 8, 2011
I can't really put my finger on why I found this book to be disappointing ... Possibly because I am in the middle of Linda Lear's monumental and wonderful biography of Beatrix Potter; she has lots of photos in her book and she gives great place descriptions. I bought this book because I wanted more of Potter's very special watercolors and more period photography. Instead, I get modern day photos of her home presented as a showplace, restored for visitors. I think this book reminded me of a large "brochure of The Lake District, featuring a tour as well as the home of Beatrix Potter".

Nevertheless, there are many gems in this book, such as Potter's photo of the "pace-eggers", and lovely landscapes of the area.
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Helen Beatrix Potter is remembered these days (at least in America) for her wonderful children's books, featuring anthropomorphized animals. However, Ms. Potter herself was at least as interesting as her children's book, and in my opinion quite a bit more interesting! This fascinating book is less a biography of Ms. Potter than it is an explanation of who she was and what made her "tick."

Overall, I found this to be a very interesting book. I have read several biographies of Beatrix Potter, but this book really is in a class by itself. I loved the look into the great lady that it gave me, and I really, really loved the numerous pictures of her and the places she knew. It really is an exciting book!
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on August 23, 2007
What a beautiful book. Clear, inviting photos, and interesting information. A book you will enjoy reading and sharing.
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on September 3, 2011
What a wonderful book! I've always loved Beatrix Potter (so much so that I named one of my daughters Beatrix) and this book has so much history and has not only breathtaking photos but drawings and illustrations that are captivating. So interesting to see Beatrix's characters come to life in her actual surroundings. She was ahead of her time with her independence and decisions to showcase her talents when her own mother just wanted her to get married and be a socialite.
I find it almost sad in a way that the greatest children's author of our time never had kids of her own. She had a great sense of humor, a tremendous work ethic and her dedication as a Philanthropist to the Lakes District is inspring. She managed to buy over 4000 acres herself that her husband, William Heelis, gave(as Beatrix wanted) to the National Trust when he passed away only 18 months later. I can't wait to take my own family to the land that inspired Beatrix and that she loved so much.
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on February 15, 2011
I really love this book! I didn't get enough time to view Hill Top Farm so this book really helped me to scrutinise each part of her house in greater detail and to remember it permanently. It has amazing pictures and great, detailed explanations, together with some snippets on her life and how she incorporated her surroundings into her little books. A great memento for any Hill Top Farm or Beatrix Potter fans.
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on February 20, 2011
My sister has long been a Beatrix Potter fan and this book made a delightful gift for her. Such fun to see interiors of her home and often the inspirations for many of her sketches and paintings. Beautiful photographs!
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on November 17, 2007
A gorgeous collection of photos and information
about one of my most favorite children story writers.
0Comment8 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse