The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse (1910)

44The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse was published in 1910. Mrs. Tittlemouse had appeared briefly the year before in The Tale of The Flopsy Bunnies. Her careful drawings of insects echo her professional fungus drawings as well as providing a frisson for readers. A first printing of 25,000 copies in July 1910 and sold quickly and a further 15,000 were printed before November 1911.

Mrs. Tittlemouse lives a hedge, in a “funny house”. It has long passages with small storerooms. She tries to keep her home tidy but insects and spiders make messes all over the place.  Mr. Jackson, a toad, tries to help but invites himself for dinner. Hunting the storerooms for honey leaves a worse mess. Poor Mrs. Tittlemouse wonders if her home will ever be tidy again, but after a good night’s sleep, she gives her house a fortnight’s spring cleaning, polishes her little tin spoons, and holds a party for her friends.

Mrs. Tittlemouse, marks the beginning of a decline in production after several highly successful years. Aging parents, running a farm and possibly the start of her marriage hopes all seemed to reduce her capacity to write and illustrate children’s stories.

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