Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Dorothy Aldis, in Nothing Is Impossible: The Story of Beatrix Potter, provides a fascinating account of this cherished writer’s life for young readers. Drawing from Potter’s letters and coded journal, Aldis uses an engaging narrative style that maintains reader interest. The text is divided into sixteen chapters. Since Potter’s middle and later years were relatively uneventful, most of the book focuses on her childhood and youth leading up to writing and publishing the story of Peter Rabbit. Illustrations in the text are simple pencil drawings by Richard Cuffari.

Aldis recounts the relative seclusion of Potter’s childhood in London at the family home called Bolton Gardens. Mr. and Mrs. Potter were wealthy, but there was not much contact between Potter and her parents; she spent most of her time alone in her bedroom on the third floor. She never went to school, nor did she have any playmates her own age. With the help of the family butler, however, she was able to obtain a mouse friend; she named it Hunca Munca.

When her brother, Bertram, was born, it was decided that Potter should have a gov-erness who would teach her to read. The job fell to a young woman named Miss Hammond, whose energy and enthusiasm were well suited to her bright, thoughtful six-year-old charge. Miss Hammond readily accepted Hunca Munca and told Potter that she, too, had had mice as a child, as well as a rabbit named Peter.

With Miss...

(The entire section is 446 words.)