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The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin

Beatrix Potter's classic children's story

The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin

Beatrix Potter's classic children's story

"This is a Tale about a tail—a tail that belonged to a little red squirrel, and his name was Nutkin."

The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin is Beatrix Potter’s second book and the successful follow-up to the English writer’s hugely popular debut, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, published in 1902. 

A simple story at its heart, one that casts a troublemaking red squirrel, whose youthful exuberance rather gets the better of him. Daily bouts of mischief, while seem to keep our hero entertained, begin to ruffle the feathers of a sleepy old owl…with disastrous consequences. 

Squirrel Nutkin, a much-loved character from children’s literature; the poster child for pushing one’s luck!

Squirrel Nutkin and Old Brown

The story begins by introducing a community of squirrels who’ve made their home in the woodlands by the lake. It’s here that the reader meets Nutkin, his brother Twinkleberry, and their many cousins.

The crisp notes of autumn are in the air; Potter’s beautifully drawn illustrations capturing the season with muted greens and browns. Meanwhile, the busy squirrels are making plans to sail across the lake on rafts made of twigs to gather nuts from Owl Island. They must first, however, ask permission from Old Brown, the owl who roosts in an oak tree at the heart of the island:

"Old Mr. Brown, will you favour us with permission to gather nuts upon your island?," the squirrels ask, while presenting him with three plump mice.

squirrel nutkin bronze sculpture

A lucky escape for Squirrel Nutkin

Squirrel Nutkin is in particularly impish mood in his first encounter with the Old Brown: bouncing, skipping and reciting riddles, all right under the owl’s beak:

"Riddle me, riddle me, rot-tot-tote! A little wee man, in a red red coat! A staff in his hand, and a stone in his throat; If you'll tell me this riddle, I'll give you a groat."

Each morning, and for six days straight, the  band of squirrels bring a new set of gifts for Old Brown, in exchange for the safe collection of nuts from the island – from moles, minnows, and beetles wrapped in dock leaves to honey, and finally, an egg. While the rest of the squirrels do their best to keep the peace, Nutkin’s behaviour becomes more rebellious with each passing day.

Finally, on the sixth day, and after nearly a week of riddles and general nuisance-making, all of Old Brown’s patience has disappeared. When Squirrel Nutkin leaps on the owl’s head, he’s quickly caught, stashed in a waistcoat pocket and brought indoors to await his fate. 

“Then all at once there was a flutterment and a scufflement and a loud "Squeak!"”

Luckily for young Nutkin, he manages to escape, losing only his tail, but perhaps learns a valuable life lesson!

squirrel nutkin illustration

A perfect garden gift

A book filled with stunning illustrations, larger-than-life characters, and a beautifully written plot. It’s easy to see why The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin has remained such a popular feature on bookcases around the world for the last 120 years. The iconic red squirrel, perhaps the most famous in children’s literature, has become a beloved cast member in our bronze sculpture collection and a popular addition to homes and gardens across the country and beyond. 

With his instantly recognisable tail and animated stance — like a coiled spring ready to dart across a tree branch — a Squirrel Nutkin bronze sculpture is truly designed with the garden in mind. The perfect gift for literary lovers and a wonderful way to bring those memorable pages to life in your outdoor spaces. Why not get in touch and see how we can add a splash of Beatrix Potter magic to your garden?



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10 products found

Mr. Jeremy Fisher

Height: 21.3 inches / 54 cm

Cold Cast: £6,700
Hot Cast: £17,000

Peter Rabbit eating Radishes

Height: 17 inches / 43 cm

Cold Cast: £2,000
Hot Cast: £7,500

Peter Rabbit

Height: 19.7 inches / 50 cm

Cold Cast: £1,600
Hot Cast: £6,000

Robin and Spade

Height: 43.3 inches / 110cm

Hot Cast & Spade: £1,200

Robin & Hot Cast Dibber

Height: 27.6 inches / 70 cm

Hot Cast only: £2,500

Mr. Tod

Height: 40 inches / 102 cm

Cold Cast: £6,300
Hot Cast: £20,000

Jemima Puddle-Duck

Height: 23.6 inches / 60 cm

Cold Cast: £5,700
Hot Cast: £15,000

Squirrel Nutkin

Height: 13.8 inches / 35 cm

Cold Cast: £2,200
Hot Cast: £5,500

Samuel Whiskers

Height: 6.3 inches / 16 cm

Cold Cast: £1,200
Hot Cast: £3,200

Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle

Height: 18 inches / 46cm

Hot Cast: £10,500

Posted on September 30th 2023

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