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A Bear Called Paddington
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2014
Having seen a trailer at the cinema for a forthcoming film version of Paddington, I downloaded this book to read to my daughter, realising that although Paddington had been a favourite in my childhood, I hadn't yet shared it with her. It was even better than I remembered, and she loved it too, laughing out loud as I read it to her. She's keen to read further books in the series herself (she's 11, and I had wondered whether she might be too old for it, but clearly not). There were the odd bits that I needed to translate e.g. explaining the concept of seaside photographers who used to offer photo services to tourists, with big cameras using photographic plates - out of date even when I read this book as a child, and archaic in an age when everyone takes snaps on their phones and tablets. It therefore jars that the publisher has updated the currency in the book from pre-decimal to decimal currency, which doesn't make sense - I'm sure there were no photographers working like this post decimalisation (1971). But such issues are always a dilemma when reading classic children's literature.

It was an added bonus to find at the end a short, pleasant essay by the author describing how he first came to write the Paddington books, which have eclipsed everything else he ever wrote, as far as I'm aware. It was a lovely story, but then oddly contradicted by a the publisher's "About the author" bit afterwards, which gave a completely different and far less compelling account. Ok, so which is it? I prefer to believe the Bond's version - but the publisher ought to have spotted this, and to get their facts right. Not affecting my five star rating here, though, as those stars belong to Paddington and his creator, not to the publisher.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Recently reintroduced to Paddington as my 8 year old daughter has been reading it. It made me laugh out loud - highly recommended particularly for young readers who don't like fantasy literature - Paddington is wonderfully real.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 January 2015
I've just read this out loud to my seven-year-old daughter at bedtime, and she likes the "always making mistakes" aspect of the stories.

Written in the 1950s, this is the first collection of stories about Paddington, a bear who arrives at Paddington Station with a suitcase and a label around his neck, all the way from Darkest Peru. He is adopted for no apparent reason by the Brown family (I guess times were less suspicious then), and taken home to live with them in their London home.

The gentle humour of the stories comes from Paddington effectively behaving like an alien visiting from another planet. He has never used a modern bath before, been to a play, been to the seaside, visited a department store, ridden an escalator, had tea and cakes in a café etc. etc., and he approaches each new experience with great enthusiasm and an amazing amount of cack-handedness - plus unfailing politeness to everybody else involved, and a repertoire of hard stares for anybody who's making a fuss.

My daughter mostly smiled during the stories, with the occasional laugh out loud. (Paddington's magic show particularly tickled her.) She would like more books from the series. Reading age 8+ years, if the child's reading it for themselves.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2009
I bought this book by accident, as I really wanted the picutre book for a 4 year old and this was too much text for her to read. But, I bought the picture book and gave her older sisters this book to read to her so she gets the whole store of Paddington Bear (taking British culture to the Americans) - she loved it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 July 2011
I have known the books about Paddington for ages. I bought this one as a gift. It's a shame these books are much less popular now than some 20 years ago, they are classics for children and adults, just like "Winnie the Pooh", my other favourite. A note: I am a grandmother now, I read Paddington to my children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The world’s most famous illegal immigrant first appeared in print back in 1958, and has been entertaining children and adults ever since. I must admit that I did become worried about Paddington at the General Election as it was rumoured that if UKIP gained some power they had a secret agenda in which Paddington books would be publicly burned. But thankfully for us all this didn’t come to pass.

At the end of the story is a postscript by Michael Bond in which he writes about the way he really just kind of stumbled upon writing a children’s book, and how certain characteristics of the characters come from real people he knew. You can look upon this book as either a novel, as the chapters continue in a logical order, as well as a series of short stories, as each chapter tells of the further incidents of what has become a legendary bear.

We first meet Paddington at Paddington station, by which time he has stowed away on a ship from Darkest Peru and entered the country illegally. When Mr and Mrs Brown see him they being kind hearted but foolhardy folk, give Paddington a place to live with complete disregard to immigration laws. But I think that they may have bitten off more than they can chew, because Paddington, which is the name they give to the bear is quite a handful.

From the beginning of this book we see that Paddington although very polite, can be exceptionally clumsy, and thus he gets into all sorts of trouble and causes a certain amount of mayhem and worry wherever he goes. My sister and I had the stories read to us when we were little, then we read them ourselves, and watched the TV production on the BBC at the time, and although it has been years since I last read this particular book I could still remember parts of the story.

In our house we used to practice that famous stare that Paddington gives to some people at times, and I have even taught a former girlfriend how it goes, which has caused many in the past to become quite worried. Paddington works for all ages as the stories are so full of comic incident and misunderstandings, which we can all relate to. Thus if you are reading this to a child you will find that you love this story just as much now as when you were little yourself.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2010
I bought this for my baby cousin as a present for his christening. This is a special edition book to celebrate 50 years of Paddington. It's a lovely hard back book with good quality pages, that's really good value.
I just hope my cousin will grow up to love Paddington as much as I do.
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54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on 8 December 2000
This is an absolute classic childrens book. I have been reading it to my three boys aged 8 and 4 each night. They really enjoy it and it is the one sure way to get them to bed with no fuss
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2010
Bought this for my six year old nephew and while he absolutely loved it it was a bit too old for him. It would be better suited to seven years and over I think.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2009
This collection of Paddington Bear stories is lovely and Stephen Fry reads these classic stories in a highly engaging manner. My children (aged 4 and 6) had not come across Paddington before but often now request these stories to listen to in bed, the only disadvantage being that unlike a lot of their other stories on CD, they actually stay awake to listen to them! The Paddington stories have stood the test of time very well, and are just as good as I remember them being from my childhood (watching the cartoons on TV). The CDs are good value too, with well over 2 hours of playing time.
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