New Beatrix Potter story uncovered after 100 years

A Beatrix Potter illustration
A Beatrix Potter illustration is displayed at Bonhams auction house in London in 2008. The illustration is of an unnamed bunny who did not appear in any of her books.
Kirsty Wigglesworth | AP

The trend of long-lost manuscripts rising again continues: First it was Harper Lee, then Dr. Seuss, now Beatrix Potter.

According to the BBC, publisher Jo Hanks has uncovered a never-before-seen Potter story, "The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots," which Potter wrote some time before 1914.

Hanks first found a reference to the story in an out-of-date literary history about Potter. She followed that lead to the Victoria and Albert Museum archives in London, where she found rough sketches of Kitty-in-Boots and a partially arranged manuscript in the author's papers.

The story stars "a well-behaved prime black Kitty cat, who leads rather a double life," Potter wrote to her publisher in 1914. The story also features an appearance by Peter Rabbit, the beloved, mischievous character that first made Potter famous.

He's not quite the rabbit you may remember, however.

Hanks told the BBC that he's "older, slower and portlier" in "The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots."

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The BBC reports that letters from the archive indicate Potter intended to finish the book, but was delayed by life events: World War I, her marriage and later illness. While she was famous for her illustrations, which mixed whimsy with scientific accuracy, she completed only one drawing for "Kitty-in-Boots."

The newly uncovered tale will now be published this September by Penguin Random House, featuring original illustrations by another beloved figure in children's publishing: Quentin Blake. Blake is best known for illustrating the stories of Roald Dahl.

Blake told the BBC that it's an incredible opportunity to illustrate the work of Potter, 100 years after she first sketched out the story.

"I have a strange feeling that it might have been waiting for me," he said.