When fashion knitwear label Cats Brothers reimagined the cover of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, they saw the anthropomorphic hare as a beanie-clad street bunny, name emblazoned on the back of his denim jacket.
The book cover design, one of five made over by high-end youth culture fashion brands, will be published on 7 July 2016 by Penguin Random House Children in celebration of 150 years since the birth of Potter, and it’s sparked debate among children’s book lovers and the design community alike. While the announcement of the new contemporary covers has had plenty of positive feedback, some of the public has been underwhelmed, and even angered, by the visual redo. Commenter Ed had a particularly unfavourable reaction: ‘This grates with me so deeply, I feel the urge to set fire to something,’ he wrote, impassioned.
‘To give Peter Rabbit tattoos and a beanie hat, or to replace Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’s apron and bonnet with a stylised print motif, misunderstands the joy that so many of us found in Beatrix Potter’s stories when we were growing up’, says Harriet Brown on The Guardian.
Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, a plump, motherly hedgehog washerwoman from Scotland has been rendered a logotype retro print by beloved Irish designer Orla Kiely.
Baby blue polka dots (supposedly eggs) and a catchphrase quote cover The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck in a way that’s typical of British fashion designer Henry Holland, whose irreverent, playful style lures the trustafarians of Generation Snapchat.
Tom Kitten, who admittedly already looked a little deer-in-the-headlights on the original, now finds himself bewildered in a Pop Art world created by The Rodnik Band.
Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi of Preen by Thornton Bregazzi have lent a Victorian floral aesthetic to The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin.
‘Must EVERYTHING be chic and exhausting?’ asked @missellabell on Twitter. What do you think of the new covers? Let us know in the comments section below.