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Beatrix Potter, Scientist

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  113 ratings  ·  54 reviews
BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST, is the first picture-book biography to focus on the author/artist’s scientific pursuits. For a decade before Beatrix released The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she became enchanted with fungi after encountering them on holiday in Scotland. She studied them obsessively, at first to draw them accurately, and later for the sake of inquiry. Her period as an ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 2020 by Albert Whitman & Company (first published 2020)
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Average rating 4.40  · 
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Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a delight to learn about Beatrix Potter's scientific studies, and how they later informed her art. Through text and illustrations, the reader is invited to look at what Beatrix saw as a child, and to consider the questions she asked. We see young Beatrix Potter slicing, sketching, and observing through a microscope to learn about every gill, scale, and spore on a mushroom. As one of the first people to successfully grow fungi from spores, we see Beatrix struggle to share her knowledge at a ...more
Laurie Wallmark
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a fascinating look into the overlooked accomplishments of Beatrix Potter, author and illustrator. In spite of the manners of the times, Beatrix followed her passion for science and nature. This is an inspiring story that shows kids that they can have many interests.
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Interesting part of Beatrix’s life I didn’t know much about.
An interesting look into Beatrix Potter’s life before she was known for Peter Rabbit, when she studied and was passionate about fungi. The illustrations are beautiful.
Charlotte Offsay
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is fascinating, it shares another side of beloved author Beatrix Potter’s life, her scientific pursuits. Even from a young age, Potter was fascinated with the world around her – she drew, studied, explored and made groundbreaking discoveries. This beautifully written and illustrated book is inspiring. It shows what life was like for a female scientist in Victorian British society and beautifully illustrates the power of following your heart/dreams.
Ben Truong
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beatrix Potter, Scientist is a children's picture book written by Lindsay H. Metcalf and illustrated by Junyi Wu. It centers on the scientific passions of a beloved children's-book creator.

Helen Beatrix Potter was an English writer, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist. She was best known for her children's books featuring animals, such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Metcalf's text is rather simplistic, straightforward, and informative. Metcalf explores Beatrix Potter's life
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beatrix Potter, Scientist by Lindsay H. Metcalf is a lyrical look at a little-known aspect of Potter’s life, her scientific endeavors. Children will enjoy this solidly researched book that explores Potter’s in-depth studies of the natural world, specifically fungi. She possesses a scientific drive, but is thwarted by the sexism of the era. The book reveals how Potter’s scientific investigation interweaves with her writing and illustrating for children—how she moves from amateur scientist to prod ...more
Cassandra Federman
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is fabulous! Not only did I learn that Beatrix Potter was the same person who gave us Peter Rabbit, but this is also the first picture book biography I've read where the protagonist pivots careers. Beatrix had a strong desire to become a scientist, which wasn't an option for her at the time. After years of breaking through barriers trying to make it in the scientific community, Beatrix pivoted to children's books. Here she was wildly successful. It just shows that it is okay to switch ...more
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a delight! In a light and lovely way, author Lindsay Metcalf takes us into Beatrix’s Victorian world – were women were NOT scientists -- and showed us how, with a bit of persistence, Beatrix, in fact, was. As a family, we enjoyed seeing how Beatrix Potter was a naturalist--and comparing what she did with our own sketchbooks. It was also super interesting to see how her scientific observations informed her Peter Rabbit books. Now my son can’t wait to reread Peter Rabbit and search for mushro ...more
Susie Sawyer
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Who knew?!? I'd bet that if you mention the name "Beatrix Potter" to most people, they would immediately think of the author of the beloved Peter Rabbit stories. This eye-opening book shows us there was much more to this inspiring woman! What a wonderful example for girls (and boys!) of how you can turn your childhood passions into so much more! Author Lindsay Hanson Metcalf's words make us FEEL what Beatrix felt, and SEE what she saw. I can only imagine how this book, and Beatrix's determinatio ...more
Kourtney LaFavre
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a big fan of Beatrix Potter, I loved this opportunity to get a glimpse of who she was as a scientist. I appreciated that the author highlighted Ms. Potter as an inquisitive child that laid the foundation for scientific thinking. There is so much to learn from HER story. It’s beautifully illustrated and my children and I loved learning about Ms. Potter’s journey.
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is lovely! ❤
Mary Copp
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely enchanting story of Beatrix Potter and her journey to becoming a beloved creator of children’s books. Always observant, young Beatrix was enamored and inspired by the natural world. A curious girl who collected, cared for, even dissected – with precision and respect. As a young woman, she sketched, she wrote, she studied specimens under a microscope and shared her findings. However, in the Victorian era, her career choices were limited. She persisted, however. She found kindred spi ...more
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This beautifully written and illustrated book is perfect for science lovers, Peter Rabbit lovers, and anyone in between! It is packed with little-known information about one of the most famous children's writers in the world. ...more
Debbie N.
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I never knew B. Potter was a budding scientist! It was very cool learning about her scientific discoveries which influenced her future picture books!
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Holy Bunny Rabbit! There is a whole other life to Beatrix Potter and it's amazing to read about it. ...more
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Elementary level biography of Beatrix Potter. Metcalf takes readers through her years of scientific study and the challenges involved because she was a woman. She shows the reasons why Potter switched to writing about Peter Rabbit and his friends.
Lovely and realistic illustrations.
Keila Dawson
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Did you know Beatrix Potter was a scientist? I didn't until Lindsay H. Metcalf wrote this story about her! Not only does it provide readers more than what we already know about Potter, but it's delves into the science. Young readers can use this book to conduct experiments, just like Potter did. It's also thought provoking to think about why Potter isn't better known for her scientific work and mostly known as a beloved storyteller. Children will enjoy learning more about Potter and history in t ...more
Lisa D
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful & informative book! I had no idea she was a scientist in addition to the beautiful books she wrote that we all grew up reading! Highly recommended! Beautiful illustrations! Loved it! This book is Worthy of reading numerous times, trust me!
Kelly Carey
BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST goes beyond Peter Rabbit and takes a peek at the microscope peering, nature loving woman who studied fungus! Alongside wispy drawings lush with foliage, Metcalf tells the story of a curious young girl who “sneaks nature inside” and explores with “eyes open to the world so wide”. One can only wonder what more, beyond her beloved children’s books, Beatrix would have offered if society had appreciated the discoveries presented by a woman in the Victorian age. Fans of Beatr ...more
Megan Esser
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A crowd pleaser in our household, this book held the attention of my five year old along with being an interesting read for me. I enjoyed learning more about Beatrix Potter who holds a special place in my childhood with her stories of Peter Rabbit. The illustrations in this book, reminiscent of those adored rabbit tales, gave me a wave of nostalgia. My five year old asked me a couple of times what a word meant, which is a welcome discussion to add to his vocabulary. He also really took to the pa ...more
Amanda Sincavage
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With illustrations reminiscent of Beatrix Potter's style and text that invites readers into Potter's world, this book digs deeper into one facet of Beatrix Potter's life - her contributions to the study of fungi (mycology). With curriculum connections to art, science, history, and even a taste of geography, readers get a broader view of this multi-talented and beloved children's book author and illustrator. ...more
Doe Boyle
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Backed up by extensive research into the life and work of Beatrix Potter, this exploration of Potter as a scientist, illustrator, and creator of beloved stories for children (and others), is a grand introduction that will lead readers onward to other works on--and by--Potter. Modern readers may agree with this reviewer that it's a shame--and a loss to science--that Potter was restricted from professional science societies, but they may also agree that it was a gift to the world that Potter follo ...more
Melanie Ellsworth
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I did not know that Beatrix Potter was a scientist in addition to being an artist until I read this book. The lyrical writing pulls the reader into the story, and the beautiful shades of green immerse us in the natural world that Potter loved so much. I was impressed to learn how she persisted in her scientific exploration of fungi, even trying to get a paper published during a time in which women were not considered to be “real” scientists. The author does a wonderful job highlighting the inter ...more
A.J. Irving
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nf-pb, pb-bio
This is a brilliant and fascinating picture book biography about the beloved children’s author, Beatrix Potter, whose first passion was science. This book takes the reader through Beatrix’s early childhood as she observed, questioned, collected, and recorded nature around her. As Beatrix grew older, her curiosity and skills blossomed even more. We learn that she was particularly interested in fungi. She made a discovery and wrote a scientific paper, but it was ultimately rejected. Disappointed b ...more
NoNieqa Ramos
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I love picture books that lend themselves to interactive experiences with inquisitive young readers! This book celebrates curiosity, exploration, and the joy of discovery. Metcalf creates a sense of mystery by inviting readers into the unknown story of Beatrix’s life as a naturalist. Through her lyrical prose and Junyi Wu’s lush illustrations, children will be encouraged to be like Beatrix and “observe, record, and collect” and draw and photograph what fascinates them about nature. My child and ...more
Larissa Marantz
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lindsay Metcalf's debut picture book BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST is a fascinating story behind the beloved creator of Peter Rabbit. It may not be so unusual to discover that before the telling of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter was an astute observer of the creatures in her backyard, mice, snakes and rabbits. Metcalf writes about Potter's scientific intrigue and how it eventually led to the writing of the most famous children's picture book for the ages.
Paired with beautiful textured colored pencil i
Belinda Grimbeek
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Being a Beatrix Potter fan, I pre-ordered, and was so excited to receive my copy. Having previously read her works and not her biography, I was fascinated to learn of Beatrix’s in-depth study of mushrooms and the struggle to get her work recognized (even though it was only recognized properly posthumously) but what I was most struck by as a picturebook author/illustrator, was the attention to detail by both Beatrix Potter and the author and illustrator of this book. Allen Arnold says, “Before ar ...more
Jen Bagan
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pb-non-fiction
This book is fascinating! Most are familiar with Beatrix Potter's children's stories but I was so surprised to find out she was a brilliant scientist! Metcalf delivers this story with an accessible, conversational style that is sure to draw in readers of all ages. Wu's soft and lovely illustrations are a perfect complement. This book deserves a place on home and school bookshelves alike. ...more
Roberta Gibson
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Did you know that before author and illustrator Beatrix Potter began her career writing the famous children's classics, she was a scientist?

In her new picture book Beatrix Potter, Scientist (illustrated by Junyi Wu), Lindsay H. Metcalf reveals how as a child Beatrix Potter was curious about plants and animals, but devoted her young adult years to studying fungi.

Overall Beatrix Potter, Scientist will appeal to both young readers interested in STEM and also those interested in women's history. I l
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Lindsay H. Metcalf is a children’s author, poet, and award-winning journalist who will debut with three nonfiction picture books in fall 2020. She is the author of FARMERS UNITE! Planting a Protest for Fair Prices (Calkins Creek) and BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST (Albert Whitman & Company). She is a co-editor, along with Keila V. Dawson and Jeanette Bradley, of NO VOICE TOO SMALL: Fourteen Young Ameri ...more

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