A Bear Called Paddington Paperback – Illustrated, 31 May 2018
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Praise for the Paddington series:
'I've always had great respect for Paddington… He is a British institution.' Stephen Fry
'Paddington has joined Pooh as one of the great bears of English children's literature.' The Teacher
'Michael Bond's accident-prone bear…has become one of the most enduring of children's characters.' The Bookseller
Praise for Paddington’s Finest Hour:
“…a delight throughout…” Financial Times
Praise for Love From Paddington:
“…a jolly ride through the best of the Paddington tales” The Times
“…a delightful collection…” Sunday Express
About the Author
Michael Bond was born in Newbury, Berkshire on 13 January 1926 and educated at Presentation College, Reading. He served in the Royal Air Force and the British Army before working as a cameraman for BBC TV for 19 years. In 2015, Michael was awarded a CBE for his services to children’s literature, to add to the OBE he received in 1997. Michael died in 2017, leaving behind one of the great literary legacies of our time.
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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.
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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