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Peter Rabbit is an anthropomorphic rabbit who lives next door to the (human) farmer, McGregor. His mother's always told him to stay out of Farmer McGregor's garden because Peter's father was killed and eaten there. Of course, Peter foolishly disobeys this advice and sneaks into McGregor's garden to stuff himself on vegetables and get into all sorts of trouble.
This book provides examples of the following tropes:
- Aerith and Bob: "Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were— Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter."
- Black Comedy:
- Beast Fable: Listen to your parents, kids. The dangerous strangers they tell you to stay away from are actually dangerous.
- Carnivore Confusion: Rabbits are not only sapient, but they have a society very similar to humans. They wear clothes, use pots and pans, and sleep on rabbit-sized beds. That said, Farmer McGregor bakes Peter's father into a pie.
- Civilized Animal: Peter and his family, of course. They are very anatomically accurate, but wear clothes and live in well-furnished warrens.
- Everythings Better With Bunnies: Allegedly part of the reason that Potter used rabbits as the main characters was to avoid using just a plain young, white male protagonist, which was very popular at the time.
- Freeze Sneeze: Peter sneezes while he's hiding in a half-full watering can.
- Housewife: Peter's mother.
- Inconvenient Sneeze: A sneeze gives Peter away to Farmer McGregor.
- Mouse World: Peter and his family live on the fringes of human society.
- Pantsless Males, Fully-Dressed Females: Peter only wears a jacket/vest, while his mother wears a dress and apron. Peter's sisters, however, only wear shawls.
- Rascally Rabbit: Peter Rabbit was a notorious troublemaker, as was his cousin Benjamin.