Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beatrix Potter Review of Book Three: The Tailor of Gloucester

Name of book: The Tailor of Gloucester
Author  / Illustrator: Beatrix Potter
What's It All About: Before we go any further, I'm going to clarify for the Americans (myself included) how you pronounce this title: Gloss-ter.  Also as an aside, it's pronounced: Less-ter for Leicester.  So, to recap, it's the Tailor of Gloss-ter.  

The Tailor of Gloucester, a poor old man, sews finery for the town in his little shop.  He begins to make a cherry coat for the mayor, who will be married on Christmas day.  But, the tailor runs out of cherry colored silk twist and before he can stitch the coat he begins to fall ill.  At home in his one little room, he tells his cat Simpkin to get some food and some cherry colored silk with his last pennies.  While the cat is out the tailor hears a scritching under the tea cups and finds a little mouse trapped under each one, undoubtebly the work of Simpkin.  He lets the mice go as he is still worrying over the cherry silk.  By the time the cat returns, the Tailor is feeling very ill indeed and goes to bed without his cherry silk that the cat hides in a teapot as retribution for the tailor releasing his mice dinner.  The week passes by and the tailor is too ill to sew, but who has listened to his moanings about sewing up the cherry coat?
I've already run on here too far and so I shall leave you to guess who would sew for the old tailor. 


My Favorite Bit: Again I am cheating with my favorite bits in this book but I have two and there is nothing you can do about it.  My first is a line from page 38:

"But it is in the old story that all the beasts can talk, in the night between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the morning (though there are very few folk that can hear them, or know what it is they say)." 
... "From all the roofs and gables and old wooden houses in Gloucester came a thousand merry voices singing the old Christmas rhymes--all the old songs that ever I heard of, and some that I don't know, like Whittington's bells."

The other favorite bit is on page 46 when Simpkin (the cat) sees the little mice in the tailor's shop, singing merrily and working by candlelight and he mews to be let in.

"The mice only laughed, and tried another tune--
Three little mice sat down to spin, 
Pussy passed by and she peeped in.
What are you at, my fine little men?
Making coats for gentlemen.
Shall I come in and cut off your threads?
Oh, no, Miss Pussy, you'd bite off our heads!" 

Suitable Age For Reading It To:This is a suitable story for an older than 3-ish child (who I must say would love the illustrations but not understand much of the story nor sit for so long).  The pictures are delightful for all ages and the story is one of my favorites out of this series.  Read on, dear friend.

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