Anthropomorphic Animals in Victorian Children's Literature

Although the market for children’s books predates the Victorian Era by a century, the middle and latter stages of the 1800s witness explosive growth in the production of works for younger readers. This was driven in no small part by a dramatic drop in the costs of paper, printing, and color illustration as well as by steadily increasing rates of juvenile literacy. Humanized animals appear fairly infrequently in illustrations prior to 1850, even in settings, such as Aesop’s Fables, where one might expect them. By the time Beatrix Potter began to create illustrations in the 1890s, they had become fairly widespread.