Soporific. Such a very big word for such a little book. It is just how Peter Rabbit feels when he goes into Mr. MacGregor’s garden and eats much too much lettuce. He falls asleep and trouble brews and we have this delightful tale, which was published in 1902. Can you imagine, such a little book with so much fame, along with all the other Beatrix Potter books that followed The Tale of Peter Rabbit?
Joan at Sempiterna Me wrote about the anniversary of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and her tour of Hill Top Farm and one of the comments mentioned the word soporific, which is one of my favorite words to use after a hearty meal. Soporific! It is how I feel after our Thanksgiving feast or on Christmas Eve when we have indulged in our Irish Mist stew. That sleepy, satisfied feeling after being well fed.
Each time I read about Peter being soporific, I meant to look the word up. I was pretty sure it meant drowsy for Peter fell asleep each time he ate that lettuce. I finally looked it up before I read The Tale of Peter Rabbit to my first grade class before we embarked upon a field trip to see a play based on the book at the old Golf Mill Theater. I just knew one of my students was going to ask what soporific meant (and one did) and I wanted to be prepared.
It’s funny that when I have used the word, I either see instant recognition from those who know of Peter’s dilemma or blank stares signaling “what is she talking about now?”. You know what I mean, don’t you? I know all you kiddie lit lovers know what I am writing about.
Well, all these thoughts about being soporific and tales of rabbits and angry farmers and Beatrix Potter led me to my groaning bookshelves where I pulled out a delightful book that has followed me around since 2000. The picture above is a close-up of the front jacket photo which is as dreamy and beautiful as I imagine the land upon which Hill Top Farm has settled its roots. At Home With Beatrix Potter, The Creator of Peter Rabbit, takes the reader into her garden and through her home and is filled with words and pictures and paintings that are a visual treat to the eye and mind of the lucky reader. It is filled with pictures she painted and of photos of her well worn clogs and her spinning wheel, her gardens and her rooms. It is a book in which to marvel and to let your imagination wander.
I’m feeling a little under the weather today. I think I will brew a pot of chamomile tea, wrap myself in a blanket, and read yet again this lovely book about Beatrix Potter and when I finally get drowsy, I am certain I will see Peter Rabbit bounding about in the cabbage patch, getting into mischief, and as my eyes start to close and I grow soporific . . .