Cover image for My dear Noel : the story of a letter from Beatrix Potter
My dear Noel : the story of a letter from Beatrix Potter
Johnson, Jane, 1951-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, [1999]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 25 cm
A letter from Beatrix Potter to a young friend who is ill marks the origin of her famous tales.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.7 0.5 41433.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR6031.O72 M9 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PR6031.O72 M9 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Beatrix Potter and her stories are legendary. But few people know about the inspiration behind her most famous character.

The Moore household is abuzz whenever Miss Potter comes to visit. And no one looks forward to her visits more than young Noel. One day she announces that she's leaving for Scotland, but promises to write. Soon after, Noel becomes bedridden with fever and only begins to get well when he receives a letter from Miss Potter. The letter is really a story -- a story with pictures written just for Noel -- that eventually becomes The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

My Dear Noel has a simply told, endearing text that is perfect for young children, and the charming, vivacious illustrations would have pleased Potter herself. A fascinating Author's Note and reproductions of famous letter also make this book a wonderful gift for Potter enthusiasts.

Author Notes

Jane Johnson is an English author of books for children and adults. She also writes under the pseudonyms Gabriel King and Jude Fisher. She earned a master's degree in Old Icelandic language and literature. She also worked as an editor from 1984 to 1992 at Geroge Allen and Unwin Publishers. Her title's include: The Secret Cowboy, Shadow World, Dragon's Fire and The Sultan's Wife. As Gabriel King she wrote the Tag the Cat series.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8. Johnson recounts the story of Beatrix Potter's friendship with the Moore family, for whom her classic Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902) was first composed. Told from the point of view of the oldest Moore child, Noel, Johnson explains that Potter was a close family friend and frequent visitor, who often shared her pets, pictures, and stories with the children. Once, while Noel was recuperating from an extended illness, she sent him a story-letter that included the chronicle of Peter and Mr. McGregor. Johnson's presentation is a gentle one, full of Victorian-style language (not unlike Potter's) and colorful pen-and-ink-and-watercolor illustrations that teem with details of British life circa 1893. Appended with an account of what later happened to Noel Moore and featuring endpaper reproductions of the original letter, this should be popular with Potter's many fans. --Kay Weisman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Johnson's (The Princess and the Painter) spare tale will be lapped up by anyone who ever loved Beatrix Potter's cotton-tailed hero. Her story tells of the famous letter that Potter sent to an ill London boy in 1893 that later evolved into The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Elegant watercolor and pen-and-ink artwork brimming with period details focuses on Noel Moore and his cherubic siblings as they eagerly await a visit from Miss Potter; simultaneous views of Potter in her home cleverly hint at her professional interests. Irresistible in sailor suits and smocked dresses, the children greet their friend: "Noel had known her longest, so he felt she belonged to him more than to Eric or Marjorie or Freda." The ideal guest, she arrives with gifts for all, also bringing her mischievous pet mice and rabbit, Peter. As Potter departs, she explains to Noel that she is going to Scotland and will not be able to visit for awhile, but "I shall write." When her envelope arrives, it is just the tonic needed by Noel, who has spent the summer in bed, "forgetting how it felt to be well": the child decides that Mrs. Potter's tale of a feisty hero named Peter Rabbit is "really about me!" Johnson's credible dialogue and her precisely detailed Victorian setting make these endearing, century-old characters impressively lifelike and immediate. A facsimile of Potter's original missive to Noel on the endpapers tops off this inviting introduction to an extraordinary artist and her best-known work. Ages 4-8. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-Johnson relates the story of how Beatrix Potter came to write Peter Rabbit, the first of her classic children's books. She is depicted as an adult, a close friend of the Moore children, particularly Noel, the oldest son. The book shows them eagerly awaiting a visit from her. She brings her pet rabbit and mice, treats, and jokes. Later Noel is taken ill and spends the summer bedridden. In the fall, he receives a thick packet from Potter, a story with pictures that she has written to cheer him up. It is the original version of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Noel feels it is about him and his family and loves it and rallies. A concluding page fills out more of the story of the boy, his family, and Potter. Reminiscent of Michael Hague's style, the competent artwork shows a comfortable, well-to-do Victorian home, the Moore children engaged in a variety of activities and interactions with Potter, and Noel's long confinement. The attractive layout lends variety, with pictures ranging from full-page or double-page spreads to panels, ovals, and circles. The endpapers show facsimiles of the original picture letter sent to Noel in 1893. An unusual offering with a bit of history that will appeal to children.-Judith Gloyer, Milwaukee Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.