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Peter Rabbit keeps hopping

For 100 years, children have been reading about Peter Rabbit's adventures in Mr. McGregor's garden.

This year marks the centennial of Beatrix Potter's beloved tale of a naughty bunny who ignores his mother's advice and sneaks into a farmer's garden for some free snacks, but ends up with a hard lesson instead.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was the first of 23 books written by the Englishwoman, whose love of drawing and animals combined to make the books.

"The books were written with children in mind, so they have a directness and a freshness that has withstood the years," said Sally Floyer, managing director of Frederick Warne, the same publishing company that first published the book in 1902.

Many of Potter's other characters, such as Miss Moppet and Jemima Puddle-duck, have become beloved characters, but none has matched the popularity of Peter, Floyer said.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History is recognizing the popular bunny with a multimedia exhibition called "Peter Rabbit's Garden." The exhibit runs through May 26.

The Atlanta Botanical Garden has a Peter Rabbit Garden as part of its children's garden. Education director Tracy McClendon said it's one of the most popular areas.

In the garden, children can squeeze under a white picket fence like Peter did to get into McGregor's garden. They can crawl in a stump like the one where Peter lived and hide in a giant watering can just like Peter did. There's even a vegetable garden with a scarecrow wearing Peter's little blue jacket with the brass buttons and his tiny leather shoes.

Floyer said Potter's books have been translated into more than 35 languages. Today, Potter's characters generate more than $500-million in merchandise and book sales each year.

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