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"Once upon a time there was a little girl called Lucie, who lived at a farm called Little-town..."

'The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle' was first published in 1905, and is as charming today as it was then. It tells the tale of a hidden home, high in the hills. A little girl called Lucie discovers it one day, while in search of her missing pocket handkerchiefs. She knocks on the tiny door, and meets Mrs. Tiggy-winkle, who does all the washing and ironing for the neighboring animals. Lucie spends a lovely day helping her, and it's only right at the end of the day that she realizes that the small, round, twinkly-eyed washerwoman with prickles under her cap might not be all that she seems.

57 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1905

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About the author

Beatrix Potter

2,426 books1,899 followers
Helen Beatrix Potter was an English author, illustrator, mycologist, and conservationist who is best known for her children's books, which featured animal characters such as Peter Rabbit.

Born into a wealthy household, Potter was educated by governesses and grew up isolated from other children. She had numerous pets, and through holidays in Scotland and the Lake District, developed a love of landscape, flora, and fauna, all of which she closely observed and painted. Because she was a woman, her parents discouraged intellectual development, but her study and paintings of fungi led her to be widely respected in the field of mycology.

In her thirties, Potter published the highly successful children's book The Tale of Peter Rabbit and became secretly engaged to her publisher, Norman Warne, causing a breach with her parents, who disapproved of his social status. Warne died before the wedding.

Potter eventually published 24 children's books, the most recent being The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots (2016), and having become financially independent of her parents, was able to buy a farm in the Lake District, which she extended with other purchases over time.

In her forties, she married a local solicitor, William Heelis. She became a sheep breeder and farmer while continuing to write and illustrate children's books. Potter died in 1943 and left almost all of her property to The National Trust in order to preserve the beauty of the Lake District as she had known it, protecting it from developers.

Potter's books continue to sell well throughout the world, in multiple languages. Her stories have been retold in various formats, including a ballet, films, and in animation.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 284 reviews
Profile Image for Bionic Jean.
1,227 reviews1,062 followers
April 12, 2023
The name of Beatrix Potter is familiar and loved the world over. She is famous for her delightful children's books about woodland animals, who are, of course, little people in disguise, as they wear clothes and behave exactly as their human counterparts would. The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle is the sixth in a series, and features one of her most delightful characters, a hedgehog washerwoman.

Before these whimsical stories ever came to light, Beatrix Potter had been a respected watercolourist, illustrating plant life, insects, fossils and various archaeological artefacts, as well as the pets and small animals she had always painted, even as a child. She came from a wealthy family and had been privately educated at home, so had perhaps been given more time to pursue her unique interests and talents than many of her peers. Her first story, about Peter Rabbit, was presented to the publishers when she was almost thirty. With their encouragement she went on to write the series of 23 stories we know today. She had become engaged to her editor, Norman Warne, but tragically he died a month later and she was not to actually marry until many years later, when she married a solicitor at the age of 47.

Although the pictures came first, the stories themselves are delightful fables with a fantasy element. In this one, a little girl, Lucie, goes exploring. She climbs a mountain behind her house, "Cat Bells" and encounters the bustling Mrs Tiggy-Winkle. The story describes how the two of them go on a journey to distribute all the washing Mrs Tiggy-Winkle has done for her animal friends. It is a charming story, full of repetition and introducing many of the animal characters such as Sally Henny-penny, Jenny Wren, Tom Titmouse, Peter Rabbit, and Benjamin Bunny, who feature in her books. It also has a moral aspect, with qualities of friendship, hard work, usefulness, gratitude, and politeness all present in an upbeat magical tale. For in the end, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle is seen in her true form.

The books are designed to appeal to young children. Their format goes against the stereotype; they are miniatures rather than huge picture books. But little children love little things, which seem to be scaled down just for them. They will love to hold these and pretend to read, although they will need help with the story.

It has to be said that this is a very old-fashioned tale. Washerwomen apart, many of the objects mentioned are now historic items. Some, such as a pocket-handkerchief are rare but still obvious in their meaning. Others will have been everyday items in 1905, when the story was written, but now can only be seen in a museum. Do you know what (clothes) "props" are? Or "clothes pins" (pegs)? A "damask table-cloth"? "Starch"? And what on earth is "goffering"? Even hairpins are not often used nowadays, although the image of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle with her prickles being all-over hairpins sticking through her clothes, proves irresistible. The idea of a tiny little girl being allowed to run off by herself up a mountain is also from a different, safer era. And the "mistress-servant" relationship is also very much of its time. Increasingly the books appeal to adults rather than children. They have immense nostalgia value, but they are also lovely little stories to share and explain in their historical context.

When Beatrix Potter died in 1943, she left nearly all her considerable property to the National Trust. Coming from a family with money, and achieving such fame and recognition herself, with her popular books, she was able to become a a land-owner. She spent her entire adult life buying up bits of the Lake District area (now Cumbria) which she so loved. It was the largest gift to the National Trust which had ever been made. It included her 17th Century farmhouse "Hill Top Farm", which many enthusiastic readers now visit today. It also took in over 4,000 acres of land, sixteen farms, cottages and herds of cattle and Herdwick sheep! (She was a keen sheep farmer herself.)

So we have a dual legacy. Yes, we have her wonderfully whimsical books. But perhaps not many people realise, as they climb the beautiful fells (hills) of the Lake Dictrict, that the freedom to do this is almost entirely because of Beatrix Potter's love of the natural world, her ecological views, foresight and generosity.

If you visit the Lake District, be sure to climb Catbells, which is just behind the town of Keswick. It's a bit of a pull, but one of the easiest climbs there. And the views are stunning! You can still do this over 100 years later, thanks to Beatrix, although the real little girl, Lucie, is also long gone.
Profile Image for A.E. Chandler.
Author 3 books167 followers
May 28, 2023
This is my favourite Beatrix Potter book, probably because “Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle” is a very fun name to say.
Profile Image for Traveller.
228 reviews714 followers
December 22, 2021
Miss Tiggy-Winkle is a very industrious hedgehog.
She is also very sociable. ;)

She is also kind and generous.

Replete with lovely illustrations, Beatrix Potter brings the hedges and hedgerows to anthropomorphic life.
Profile Image for Spencer Orey.
540 reviews123 followers
February 8, 2019
My kid's grandma bought us a 12 book set of the original Beatrix Potter books. I'll be reviewing them at random and out of order.

Another extraordinarily classist tale for kids about how much your servants enjoy doing your laundry.

That said, it's one of the gentler books in the series. Nobody gets permanently mauled. No children are beaten. Almost nothing happens at all, actually. There's a magical hedgehog who does the laundry for all the other animals and washes lost items of clothing. A little girl goes for a walk on her own and ends up talking to the hedgehog and seeing all the laundry. Then she goes home, only to wonder whether any of it really happened at all. (As far as portal fantasy goes, this one was a pretty safe portal. Way better than getting swept into Narnia, honestly.)
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,403 reviews462 followers
March 14, 2022
This book answers the all-important questions in the mind of children in 1905: who does the laundry? And what laundry do other creatures have?

Informative introduction to the career of laundress, suitable for human and hedgehog readers alike.


This one cracks me up because as knowledgeable of animal looks and behavior as Ms. Potter was, it cracks me up that the story is so weird and condescending. Victorians were really oddly taken with laundresses.

Shout-out to Peter's blue coat.

Library copy

Profile Image for Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore.
760 reviews170 followers
August 15, 2020
Published in 1905, this the sixth (seventh according to Wikipedia) of her twenty three (twenty four) stories of various animals. This is a very sweet little tale and as I have written once before (here), is one of the few I have read (I haven't read them all, yet) in which none of the characters is spanked or eaten (or nearly eaten) or had their tails yanked off or any such (though many of these make an appearance or are mentioned).

The story open with a little girl Lucie who lives in Little-town and has lost 'three pocket handkins and a pinny'. Looking for these she goes about asking first the kitten, then Sally Henny-Penny and the cock robin, finally finding herself walking away from town where she finds a trail of small foot-marks. Following these, she eventually finds herself in a very tiny house, spick and span, where she meets a little washerwoman, in a print gown and apron, a striped petticoat, and prickles in place of golden curls, who introduces herself as 'an excellent clear-starcher'. The little washerwoman's black nose goes 'sniffle sniffle snuffle' and eyes 'twinkle twinkle'. Lucie mentions the things she's lost and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle begins to go through her laundry, the various different items that she has in her basket, and finally locates Lucie's things while alongside also doing some ironing.

In the laundry are some rather fun things, from the tabby kitten's mittens which she 'washes ... herself' but sends down for ironing to some lambs' woolly coats to Mrs Rabbit's handkerchief to things that other Potter characters we know and love have sent in--like Peter Rabbit's blue jacket and Squirrel Nutkin's red tail coat, minus the tail (yanked off, just like his tail, one imagines). Reading these descriptions is just so sweet and delightful!

Little Lucie then joins Mrs Tiggy-Winkle for a cup of tea before walking back with her to deliver the clean laundry, and once only Lucie's bundle is left and handed over, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle seems to run away, and something rather strange happens. Was Mrs Tiggy-Winkle real, or merely Lucie's dream?

This is a delightful and pleasant tale that brings a smile to one's face. Perhaps it is set in a time long past, but still the reader can happily walk along with little Lucie tracing her small lost things and spend a little time watching the tiny washer-hedgehog as she goes about her business washing, ironing, and handing back the little items of laundry, tied in neat bundles. With Potter's gorgeous illustrations, imagining them isn't too hard either. Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and the other animals that is. Lucie on the other hand, is seen as an 'artistic failure' which is explained by Porter's difficulty in illustrating people (again from Wikipedia: here ).

Mrs Tiggy-Winkle was apparently inspired by Potter's own hedgehog of the name name and the Scottish washerwoman, Kitty MacDonald who worked for their family, while Lucie is based on little Lucie Carr one of the daughters of the vicar at Lingholm where Potter went on holiday (here)! This isn't one of the Potter tales I read as a child. In fact I first read it only well into college, but it is one I love very much, all the same.
Profile Image for Belinda Vlasbaard.
3,269 reviews55 followers
June 2, 2022
4,35 stars - English hardcover
A classic tale with beautiful drawings. A books that charmes you. Young or old. A book read by grand parents, parents, kids and grand children. As in our family. We are a 4 generation familie and all enjoy this books a lot.
Profile Image for Vaishali.
1,032 reviews262 followers
July 8, 2016
Such charmingly beautiful illustrations by the very talented and legendary Beatrix Potter. I almost squealed when Peter Rabbit appeared :) All in all, a sweet freshly-baked cupcake that warms the human heart ... but ends in a mystery too.
Profile Image for Fiction Addition Angela.
317 reviews38 followers
October 15, 2019
Once upon a time there was a young girl called Lucie, who lived at a farm called Little-town. She was upset for she had lost three handkerchiefs, handkins as she called them, and a pinny - an apron we would call it now. Although if your from Lancashire like me - we still call them pinnys.
She was upset at her loss, cried and then went and asked Tabby Kitten, a speckled hen and finally Cock Robin; none of them could help Lucie.

So Lucie set off on a quest to find the missing hankies.

Lucie followed a path past a bubbling stream and then came across some clothes props and a heap of tiny clothes pins - but no pocket handkerchiefs. But there was a door nearby and she could hear singing coming from inside. Lucie knocked and when asked 'Who's that?', she entered. Inside she discovered a very stout person with an iron in her hand. She was wearing a large apron over her striped petticoat and underneath her cap she had prickles instead of hair.

Lucie asked who this person was, to be told that she was called Mrs Tiggy-winkle and that she was a clear-starcher. Lucie asked if she had seen her handkerchiefs. 'Oh, yes if you please'm,' said Mrs T. And she proceeded to take clean things from her basket and iron them. Soon, amongst a host of other things belonging to the animals who lived nearby, out popped Lucie's handkerchiefs and her pinny.

Eventually the basket was empty, the ironing completed so Mrs T made a cup of tea for them both. When she handed Lucie her cup, Lucie noticed that there were what she described as hair pins sticking out of Mrs T's gown.

When they had finished tea, they tied the clothes up in bundles and the pair of them set off to deliver them to the animals of whom Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny were the first that they met. By the time they were at the bottom of the hill only Lucie's bundle remained so Mrs T handed it over and quickly made her way back up the hillside, not waiting for a thank you or for payment for doing the washing.

As she disappeared into the distance, Lucie notices how small she is and thats when she realised that Mrs T was a hedgehog!

Lovely illustrated classic to be pulled from the shelves and be re-read time and time again.
Profile Image for Lauren.
208 reviews63 followers
November 17, 2015
My favourite childhood Beatrix Potter story! Reread it for #readkidslit.
Profile Image for Lydia.
183 reviews7 followers
March 7, 2022
My favourite childhood book 🥺
Profile Image for Katherine.
733 reviews89 followers
November 3, 2018
This is one of my 4 year old granddaughter's favorite books. It's such fun to read the charming story while she lifts each flap that reveals the hidden item and the last words for each page. When she visits I encourage new books and she typically enjoys them but she always requests this one--sometimes twice (or more). Nothing beats a favorite book, at any age.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,434 reviews828 followers
August 6, 2016
Read this with my nephew this evening...I never really did dig Beatrix Potter and I still don't apparently!
Profile Image for Rosemary Standeven.
776 reviews40 followers
December 19, 2022
A little human girl called Lucie loses – yet again – her handkerchief. She asks all the animals around if they have found it, but none have. Lucie heads out of town, and finds a small door behind which is a washerwoman called Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, covered in prickles doing laundry for all the local animals. She has found, washed and ironed three of Lucie’s handkerchiefs, and her pinny. Lucie takes them home in a bundle fastened with a pin. It may have been a dream – but where did the pin come from?

This is probably my favourite Beatrix Potter book. I love the pictures of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle with her prickles peeking through her bonnet. I used to grow teasels in my garden, and always considered them tiny Mrs Tiggy-Winkles waiting for their clothes.
Superb book with lovely colour illustrations – and an invitation to children to dream.
Profile Image for Jonathan.
912 reviews40 followers
January 12, 2019
Another sad tale of loss and redemption from the queen of heartbreak, but this is not for the faint of heart. Lucie finds that she has lost a fair number of handkerchiefs and a pinafore, and so sets off on a long, gruelling journey to recover her missing items. At long last she comes across a small house wherein resides a prickly old woman (the titular Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, who has presumably had a downfall in life, as not everyone had a hyphenated name in the early 1900's), who has been reduced to taking in washing, but still retains a sparkle in her eye...

But is all as it seems? Lucie begins to notice, along with her standard human materials, the skin of a mole, a red squirrel's coat, and most worryingly the woolly coats of the silent lambs of Skelghyl! Luckily there is no evidence of Chianti in the house, just tea, which Lucie nervously accepts, before being dragged on a nightmare trip to taunt the relatives of the lost skins with Mrs Tiggy-Winkle's trophies. At long last Lucie manages to escape the evil clutches of the malicious hedgehog woman and clutching her hankies she makes for home. Is that a Starling she spies..?
Profile Image for GoldGato.
1,139 reviews40 followers
October 22, 2013
"Three handkins and a pinny"!

When Lucie loses her handkins (I don't think this word is even in the OED), she starts the search around the environs of Little Town to find them. She ends up discovering the cozy abode of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, a very clean hedgehog in the process of washing her whites in the washing basin. As it turns out, Tiggywinkle is the village laundress, an expert in washing, starching, and ironing.

Tea is made, which I always feel is the best part, as it means I must also have my cuppa. Thanks to Atkinson's usual marvelous illustrations, the fire is hot, the tea is milky, and the woods are inviting.

Book Season = Autumn (just enough wind to dry the clothes on the line)
Profile Image for Sharon Barrow Wilfong.
1,117 reviews3,943 followers
July 25, 2018
This story is a little more surreal than the others because Ms. Potter crosses the line between real and pretend. We have a little girl looking for her missing handkerchiefs when she comes across a strange little home with a strange little resident.

An odd looking creature is doing laundry. Apparently she does the entire neighborhood's laundry. The girl watches the little creature at work until she is done. She is handed back her kerchiefs and then is surprised to find out the true nature of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle.

Spoiler alert! She's a hedge hog.
Profile Image for Helen.
313 reviews111 followers
July 26, 2019
I picked this one up for nostalgia as I remember these books being read to me as a young child. As we follow Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and into her world it feels magical. There is a lovely unassuming, sentiment to the way it was written. They still capture my imagination as an adult, and I will be looking out for other stories by the author.
Profile Image for Angie.
250 reviews33 followers
January 29, 2018
It's hard to rate Beatrix Potter's work. Collectively, they are cute, fanciful, and make me think of reading her work when I was a kid. This one is a sweet tale of a little girl and a laundry-doing hedgehog.
Profile Image for Marina.
662 reviews6 followers
June 23, 2022

Поразительно, на какие чудеса способна наша память! Совершенно не понимаю, из-за чего я решила скачать эту маленькую сказочку английской писательницы Беатрикс Поттер на Флибусте, но когда я прочитала первые две строчки, меня настигло образцово-показательное дежа-вю, то есть оказывается, что я могу рассказать ее наизусть! И не только стишок "Я Ухти-Тухти, я лесная прачка!", а вообще всю сказку с точностью в процентов 90 :) И при всем этом я совершенно уверена, что вижу эту книжку в первый раз... Путем расследований, предследований и прочих проверенных детективных методов выяснилось, что это одна из моих любимейших пластинок детства! И я сейчас так хорошо понимаю почему - невероятно обаятельная ежиха Ухти-Тухти, абсолютно простой линейный сюжет, который в то же время предлагает ребенку окунуться в мир повседневного волшебства. Вот именно повседневного! Это не сказка про далекие страны и драконов с эльфами, которых ребенок никогда не видел и не увидит, а сказка про СТИРКУ вещей. Это гениально! :) Оказывается, можно тихонько подкрасться к маме, когда она стирает в ванне (я выросла в то время, когда частенько это делали руками), и представить, что мама тоже стирает жилетку Дрозда и кофточки Овечек...

10 / 10
688 reviews28 followers
July 4, 2021
I had a dream once when I was little that I followed a forest path I had never seen before to a smart little door and inside were all the creatures from the Hundred Acre Wood. It was a wonderful dream and this book made me think of it. A little girl who finds a washerwoman who happens to be a hedgehog and does all the washing for all the forest creatures we have met in previous books.
Profile Image for Debalina.
178 reviews25 followers
December 8, 2019
Aww, I love Mrs. Twiggy-Winkle, and what a choice of charity she has! Interesting, very-very interesting. She is an aunt I never had. I hope I become an aunt like her. (What an odd thing to think, and then post in a review!) 🤔🤪

Happy reading! 🙃
Profile Image for Sara Jesus.
1,149 reviews103 followers
August 2, 2018
A introdução da personagem Lucie dà ar de conto de fadas as historias de Peter Rabbit e os seus amigos.
Comece a entrar mais neste belo mundo e a gostar das suas personagens !
Displaying 1 - 30 of 284 reviews

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