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Synopsis

The Tale of The Flopsy Bunnies is a children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter, and first published by Frederick Warne & Co. in July 1909. After two full-length tales about rabbits, Potter had grown weary of depicting lagomorphs, and initially did not want to create another rabbit story. She realized however that children enjoyed her rabbit stories and pictures best, and reached back to characters and plot elements from The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902) and The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (1904) to create The Flopsy Bunnies. A semi-formal garden of archways and flowerbeds in Wales at the home of her uncle and aunt became the background for the illustrations.

In The Flopsy Bunnies, Benjamin Bunny and his cousins Peter and Flopsy are adult rabbits. Benjamin and Flopsy are married, and the parents of six children called simply The Flopsy Bunnies. Food is not always readily available to the large family and they are forced to resort to Mr. McGregor's rubbish heap of rotten vegetables for sustenance. Mr. McGregor catches the six Flopsy Bunnies after they fall asleep in the rubbish heap and puts them in a sack, intending to sell them for tobacco. When McGregor is distracted for a moment, the sextet is freed by Thomasina Tittlemouse, a woodmouse, and the sack filled with rotten vegetables by Benjamin and Flopsy. At home, Mr. McGregor receives a sharp scolding from his wife when she discovers the vegetables and believes her husband is playing a trick on her.

Modern critical commentary varies. One critic points out that the faces of the rabbits are expressionless while another argues that the cock of an ear or the position of a tail conveys what the faces lack. One critic believes the tale lacks the vitality of The Tale of Peter Rabbit which sprang from a picture and story letter to a child. Most agree though that the depictions of the garden are exquisite and some of the finest illustrations Potter created.

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