The Tailor of Gloucester – Beatrix Potter

More in the Series – Beatrix Potter
“More in the Series” scores the other books in a series where one (or more) of the books have made it into the 1001 Books list. Mostly because I’m a bit of a completionist. 

POINTS: 3 out of 10.

Bechdel: 0 points
Variety of characters: 0 points
Good story:  2 points.
Discretionary ideological points:  1 point.

This is an odd little tale that has really not aged very well. A lot of it is very much of its time, and the terminology used by the tailor and the cat, Simpkin, comes across as quite archaic. That being said the basic gist of the story is a pretty timeless one to do with good karma and being kind to those less powerful than you having unlooked for rewards.

No Bechdel, alas. There are a couple of mice in the illustrations who appear to be female, but no named characters, and no dialogue. Similarly, all the characters present as very white and very British. So not a lot of diversity.

The basic story involves a tailor needing to finish a terribly important coat that will change his life, but he becomes sick and cannot do it. luckily he has kindly released some mice that his cat, Simpkin, was keeping captive and the mice get together and in true Disney style, finish off the coat.

It’s good solid fairytale fare, and would be perfect except that a lot of the language hasn’t really stood the test of time. There was a lot of stuff C just didn’t understand and I was hard pressed to explain some of it. (What the hell is “twist” anyway?), but the general shape of the story is still solid.

I gave it one discretionary point, because I am in favour of tales that recommend being kind to creatures smaller and less powerful than you. I’m also in favour of the idea of paying kindness forward. This story has both of those going on.

It’s probably not the greatest tale in the Potter canon, but it’s still pretty neat.

What do you think? How do you feel about reading stories that are very outdated to kids? What’s your favourite Potter?

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