A newly discovered Beatrix Potter story written more than a century ago will be published this fall, Penguin Random House has announced.
Titled “The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots,” the book was discovered two years ago by publisher Jo Hanks after she did a little digging.
Hanks found a reference to the unpublished manuscript about "a well-behaved prime black kitty cat, who leads rather a double life" in an out-of-print biography about the author. She then searched the Beatrix Potter archives at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and uncovered the 1914 manuscript.
“The tale really is the best of Beatrix Potter,” Hanks told The Guardian. “It has double identities, colorful villains and a number of favorite characters from other tales.” Even Peter Rabbit — the character Potter is best known for — makes an appearance, although he’s “older, slower and portlier.”
Potter had completed only a single drawing of Kitty-in-Boots to accompany the tale, and while she intended to return to the story, letters in the archive reveal that the author simply became too busy.
“World War I began, she got married, and she was very intent on building her farming business,” Hanks told BBC. “Those interruptions took over and meant she never went back to the tale.”
Potter died in 1943.
However, the finished manuscript will now be published in September with illustrations by award-winning artist Quentin Blake, who may be best known for the distinctive look his work brought to Roald Dahl’s books.
“I liked the story immediately,” Blake said. “It’s full of incident and mischief and character, and I was fascinated to think that I was being asked to draw pictures for it. I have a strange feeling that it might have been waiting for me.”
While Potter wrote numerous books, she’s best known for “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” which has sold 45 million copies.
Potter certainly isn't the first author to have a book published long after death. Last year, the first of several recently discovered Dr. Seuss books was published after his widow came across a box of the author's manuscripts and sketches.