Beatrix Potter – “The Tale of Samuel Whiskers” or “The Roly Poly Pudding” (1908)

INTRODUCTION:  Beatrix Potter’s keen ability to observe and document living things is often more scientifically accurate than one would think – considering we’re talking about anthropomorphic cats and rabbits.  The following annotations of “The Tale of Samuel Whiskers” or “The Roly Poly Pudding” seek to fact-check the behaviors and characteristics of the animals in the story against scientific studies.  This is, of course, a very silly thing to do and not intended as a critique of Potter’s delightful story.

ANNOTATED DOCUMENT:  potterbeatrix_thetaleofsamuelwhiskers

Annotations by:  Rachel Linn

The annotated text is adapted from: 

Works cited & consulted in the annotations: 

  • Landsberg, Gary, and Jacqueline M. Ley. “Chapter 9 – Kitten Development.” 2011, doi:10.1016B978-1-4377-0660-4.00009-0.
  • Nagano, Akane, and Kenjiro Aoyama. “Tool-use by Rats (Rattus Norvegicus): Tool-Choice Based on Tool Features.” Animal Cognition, 2016, doi:10.1007/s10071-016-1039-5.
  • Okanoya, K., et al. “Tool-use Training in a Species of Rodent: The Emergence of an Optimal Motor Strategy and Functional Understanding.” PLOS ONE, vol. 3, no. 3, 2008., pp. e1860, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001860.
  • Portfors, Christine V. “Types and Functions of Ultrasonic Vocalizations in Laboratory Rats and Mice.” Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, vol. 46, no. 1, 2007, pp. 28-34.