Monday, July 24

The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter

In accordance with the FTC Quill Café would like to disclose that the reader borrowed this book from the library. He would like to return it. It has mysterious smudges. The opinions expressed are his and no monetary compensation was offered to him by the publisher. Or the author. As she is deceased. Cover art is copyright of Frederick Warne. Whoever he is. Oh, and the Random Penguin House. Them too.

This is the story of a little girl named Lucie who has lost her pinny...and all of her handkerchiefs. She sets out to find them, inquiring to the animals she meets along the way. Shockingly, they all snub her. At last Lucie comes across a "little person" who may know the whereabouts of her belongings.

I thought hedgehogs had bad eyesight, but little Lucie clearly needs glasses. It takes her the entirety of the story to be clued in to Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle's species. No wonder she keeps losing her stuff. She probably can't see where she left it!

Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is some sort of servant, picking up after all the hooligan animals in the farm and hillside. She seems to enjoy her work, but that's what the privileged always say about those in servitude. She is nothing but polite to Lucie, explaining which garment belongs to which animal as she works. She even makes Lucie some tea. Lucie spends the whole time giving Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle the side-eye, staring at her wrinkly brown hands and prickles, and keeping her distance.

By the end of the story, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle has received a handful of thanks for her labour, which is probably more than her washer women contemporaries would get. Lucie finally comes to the conclusion that Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is a hedgehog. Nay, in her words she is "nothing but a hedgehog." RUDE!

This book was a quaint read with pretty pictures, but it was spoiled by Lucie's naive and tedious nature. Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, however, has my utmost respect.

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