110 years on from when he first hopped onto the pages of Beatrix Potter’s much loved classics, arguably her best loved and most popular character, Peter Rabbit, has been brought to life once more. And in keeping with the modern fascination with all things digital, this time he has made the jump from paper to the online realm. To celebrate the character’s milestone and the British author’s career, a new website has been launched which will see the popular character and his creator’s works be rejuvenated in typically 21st century manner.
The website is the brainchild of publishing house Frederick Warne and Co., who counted Potter among its authors during her highly successful career and lifetime. Updating Potter’s animal tales to the digital era, the interactive website will showcase the author’s literary work and art, as well as contain games and learning resources for children. It also provides information about Potter’s life and career, and will become the chief reference and information source for all Beatrix Potter news, announcements, events and exhibitions.
While the objective behind the Peter Rabbit website is to update the world of Beatrix Potter for a modern audience of the digital age, once glance at the homepage will assure those who are already fans of her loveable characters and tales that the essence of her creative world has not been lost in translation.
Every aspect from illustrations to characters is one hundred per cent as it appeared in the initial editions and the later colour adaptations, while a secret diary and black and white photographs of Beatrix Potter with family and some of her beloved pets and animals, which served as inspiration for her stories, give the feeling of truly stepping into another world.
The website is a wonderful tribute to the author and her work, which manages to straddle the modern age at the same time as cherished days gone by. While each different section of the website appears as a bookmark, clicking to move to another destination on the site causes the pages of a virtual book to flick forward.
However, glancing across the top of the website you will be met with the standard links to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages, the true mark of literature in the digital age. Aside from these interactive links, the website also provides access and information pertaining to a Peter Rabbit app for the iPad, as well as a gift shop.
One would find it hard to disagree with Kate Hayler, managing director of Frederick and Warne, when she describes the website as “beautiful and easy to use”. The website does much for the argument that older classics are not lost to technology in this modern age, and will no doubt stand as an example for the advantages of rejuvenating literature in a way which appeals to the modern market.
With a new Peter Rabbit tale set for publication in September of this year, penned by the actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson, it looks unlikely that the Beatrix Potter and her iconic characters will be forgotten in the literary world any time soon.