Johnson enchantingly recounts for the picture-book audience the well-known story of the origins of Beatrix Potter's first book. The impending visit of the beloved ""Miss Potter"" to the Moore household in about 1893 fires much excitement in the children. The studious, isolated Miss Potter, shown first in her study with microscope and drawing pencils, gives generously of her nature with them: ""She told jokes that made them ache with giggles. She drew pictures and never said, 'I'm tired, that's enough!'"" When Noel becomes ill, miserable and lonely in bed for months, a letter with pictures comes from Miss Potter. The endpapers reproduce that letter, the intact story of Peter Rabbit, its compositions exquisite, its sketches true to life, its narrative perfect. Despite some awkwardness in the proportions and placement of the figures, this book is an obvious labor of love; Johnson shows considerable talent in her representation of the period and in the household of the wealthy Moores. That Peter Rabbit's mischief was written down first for a real child will make that story all the more powerful to readers, and may be their first acquaintance with literary history.