Tuesday, February 11, 2020

20. A Bear Called Paddington

A Bear Called Paddington. Michael Bond. 1958. 159 pages. [Source: Library] [Children's classic; animal fantasy]

First sentence: Mr and Mrs Brown first met Paddington on a railway platform.

Premise/plot: Paddington Bear has travelled all the way from darkest Peru (with the blessing of his Aunt Lucy) as a stowaway. This adorable, homeless bear is adopted by the Brown family. Judy and Jonathan are the Brown children; Mrs Bird is the housekeeper. Adventures and misadventures are had: all the time, everywhere he goes. I would say he’s less mischievous than Curious George.

My thoughts: This one was first published in 1958. It easily could have been a part of my mom’s childhood—and its sequels. Mom recently rediscovered this first book at the library. She said I HAD to read it because it’s awesome. She regretted never reading it aloud to us when we were kids. It is a great book. Perhaps not quite as quotable as Pooh, but still quotable. I will definitely be recommending this one.

“It wasn’t so much that he didn’t like baths; he really didn’t mind being covered with jam and cream. It seemed a pity to wash it all off quite so soon.” (27)

“After a few seconds he decided quite definitely that he preferred riding on an escalator. They were nice and smooth. But lifts! To start with, it was full of people carrying parcels and all so busy they had not time to notice a small bear—one woman even rested her shopping bag on his head and seemed quite surprised when Paddington pushed it off. Then suddenly half of him seemed to fall away while the other half stayed where it was. Just as he had got used to that feeling the second half of him caught up again and even overtook the first half before the doors opened. It did that four times on the way down and Paddington was glad when the man in charge said it was the ground floor and Mrs Brown led him out.” (67-8)

© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers

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