Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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Beatrix Potter


1.  Joel Chandler Harris.
“The Awful Fate of Mr. Wolf,” from Uncle Remus
His Songs and Sayings.
New and revised edition.
A. B. Frost, illustrator.
New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1895.

Beatrix Potter, like many late nineteenth-century British readers, relished these trickster tales in which an apparently defenseless animal like the rabbit triumphed over predators like the fox, wolf, or bear.

In this story, Mr. Wolf keeps breaking in and snatching the little ones. One day the wolf runs into Br'er Rabbit's house and begs to be saved from the hounds in hot pursuit. Pretending to do his enemy a good turn, the rabbit locks him in a chest. After putting the kettle on to boil, the rabbit drills holes in the chest's lid. When the wolf asks what he's doing, Br'er Rabbit says he's just giving him a little air. The rabbit then pours scalding water down the holes and asks his victim if he feels the fleas biting.

Uncle Remus is now read only in rewritten versions, such as the one by Julius Lester illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, which address the framing device's implicit racism and the dialect the Georgia journalist Harris (1848-1908) used to reproduce the speech patterns of former slaves. These mythology-folklore and Uncle Remus websites have much more information about this fascinating controversy.