"I pulled from under my pillow [...] a small square book covered in thick shiny cellophane. Across the cover pranced an empty-headed-looking rabbit. Inside, there he was again. He and other rabbits of his acquaintance seemed to be living full and interesting lives. I can remember exactly where we sat in my bedroom, my mother and I, reading the Beatrix Potter books, how I smugly explained to her the famous word 'soporific', dazzling the world with my brilliant instant reading. All over the country, hundreds of children were doing the same. A couple of times after having Beatrix Potter read to us, we were off. The few words on each page were beautifully printed and yet not in the least childish - like a missal. Those who call Beatrix Potter sickly don't know what they are talking about. They are books written by a woman who had never messed about with 'children's books'. They are full of harnessed passion, the powers of darkness, malice and terror - all the things children love - as well as the sweet comforts of ordered lives, the miraculous English landscape and the enigma of the human and animal condition. They are also very funny and this makes up for the stories being rather feeble."
Jane Gardam, from The Pleasure of Reading: 43 Writers on the Discovery of Reading and the Books that Inspired Them, edited by Antonia Fraser, and sold in aid of Give a Book.