Nothing Is Impossible was written specifically for young readers. Aldis uses a simple narrative style that is very readable for those in the ten-to-fifteen age group. Her choice of detail and liberal use of dialogue make the book read as much like a novel as a biography. Aldis says: “The characters and main incidents are factual. The conversations are what I imagined them to be, but I think they were pretty much like you’ll read them in this book.” Thus there is a slight element of fictionalization, but her facts and overall representation of Potter’s life are accurate, according to other published biographies.
Aldis gives a sensitive portrayal of the Victorian childhood that unconsciously set the stage for Potter’s stories. Potter was alone for most of her youth, and her parents had little to do with her. She had to turn to her pet mice and her imagination. It is clear that Potter was a bright child and, with Miss Hammond’s guidance, she became very studious and developed an eye for detail by practicing her drawing at the Kensington Museum. At one point, she began a study of mushrooms and other fungi that continued for many years; Canon Rawnsley even called her “Miss Mycologist” and wanted her to do an illustrated book on mushrooms.
Potter seems to have been a mature child—well behaved, studious, and proper. Yet, as Aldis shows, she was in many ways immature even as a teenager. Annie Carter, only nineteen herself when the two met, was surprised to learn that Potter was sixteen; she seemed younger, probably from having so few social contacts. When Carter completed her teaching at the Potters, she pleaded with Mr. and Mrs. Potter to...
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Aldis states in her introduction: “It seems to me now that I was born wanting to write this book.” Like many children, she had the Beatrix Potter books read to her; later, she read and reread them herself. The characters in those books were simply a part of her growing up, as they were and have continued to be for so many people. She states that on her trips to England she visited the museums, libraries, streets, and areas of London that were part of Potter’s life. She also visited the country where the Potters summered and through this and bits of other research she began to know the world of Beatrix Potter. Then when Margaret Lane’s The Tale of Beatrix Potter was published in 1946 and The Art of Beatrix Potter in 1955, Aldis, the author of many books for young readers, revived her own interest in the subject.
Nothing Is Impossible was a Junior Literary Guild selection and is written so that young readers, who are not so very far removed from their own experience with Peter Rabbit and friends, can advance to biography and learn the personal story of a writer who has touched so many people with her characters and universal themes. Aldis’ book does not have a scholarly tone, but it is good biography that, although no notes are used, obviously is based on standard sources. Potter’s influence is undeniable, and Aldis makes her life story readily accessible to young readers.