Nothing Is Impossible Critical Essays

Dorothy Aldis


(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

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...

(The entire section is 687 words.)