The Tale of Two Bad Mice is a children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter, and published by Frederick Warne & Co. in September 1904. Potter took inspiration for the tale from two mice caught in a cage-trap in her cousin's home and a dollhouse being constructed by her editor and publisher Norman Warne as a Christmas gift for his niece Winifred. During the course of the tale's development, Potter and Warne fell in love and became engaged, much to the annoyance of Potter's parents who were grooming their daughter to be a permanent resident and housekeeper in their London home.
The tale's themes of rebellion, insurrection, and individualism reflect not only Potter's desire to free herself of her domineering parents and build a home of her own, but her fears about independence and her frustrations with Victorian domesticity. In a larger social context, the tale reflects the social unrest of England's working classes, their agitation for labour reform, and their urge to possess a piece of the pie the upper classes enjoyed.
The book was critically well received and brought Potter her first fan letter from America. The tale was adapted to a segment in the 1971 Royal Ballet film The Tales of Beatrix Potter and to an anuimated episode in the BBC series The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends. Merchandise inspired by the tale includes Beswick Pottery porcelain figurines and Schmid music boxes.
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