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Tuesday, 17 July, 2001, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Potter's Peter in rabbit rethink
Peter Rabbit copyright Frederick Warne & Co., 1902, 2001
A cleaner, brighter Peter (right) for the 21st century
Peter Rabbit - for nearly a century the very image of childhood innocence - has undergone an image makeover.

Penguin books have redrawn Beatrix Potter's famous character for a new series of Peter Rabbit editions aimed at nursery school children.

As long as they keep the original illustrations in print we don't mind

Beatrix Potter Society spokeswoman

The new, more dynamic Peter Rabbit will have bigger eyes, stronger colours and cleaner lines.

"He has a cleaner, brighter look to him - but he doesn't take over from the original Peter Rabbit at all," a Penguin spokeswoman told BBC News Online.

'Merchandising'

"It's a different rabbit to appeal to very small children - who have a different way of looking.

"But it's also technical - because of the massive merchandising programme we have, the original image is difficult to reproduce on duvet covers and pillows and so on," said the spokeswoman.

Merchandising has become a major part of the Beatrix Potter industry.

In a statement, Penguin books said that the new Peter Rabbit was to appear on a range of baby and infant products.
Peter Rabbit copyright Frederick Warne & Co., 1902, 2001
Peter Rabbit is known for getting into scrapes

The illustrations in the original Potter books - painted by Beatrix Potter herself - would remain untouched, Penguin insisted.

A spokeswoman for the Beatrix Potter Society was relaxed about the changes.

"As long as they keep the original tales, with the original illustrations, in print we don't mind," she told BBC News Online.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published commercially in 1902, after Potter had self-published the original book and sold 500 copies - including one to Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Publisher Frederick Warne & Co then offered to publish the book if Potter would produce coloured illustrations instead of the black and white ones.

See also:

15 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Potter first edition nets 6,000
11 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
Dan Dare sets course for TV stardom
23 Aug 98 | Entertainment
Fighting Peter's pirates
23 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Second-hand Potter bonanza
19 Nov 99 | Entertainment
Potter manuscript fails to sell
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