Michael Bond’s immortal classic character Paddington has brightened the childhoods of thousands of children. I’m not sure how well known he is abroad from the UK, but if he isn’t that well known elsewhere, he should be. This lovable character was introduced to us in A Bear Called Paddington in 1958. I hadn’t read the books in years, but I recently saw the film (an excellent supplement to his legacy), and was spurred to pick up the first book. If someone who has not heard of Paddington wants to know who he is, let me say this: he was the subject of twenty-four books. Three television shows. A music album (?). And now an excellent film. He has entertained generations of school children, and is as iconic a figure as Harry Potter. There are few books that can raise a chuckle in me, but Paddington is one. If you’ve never read it, it doesn’t matter what age you are, it’s a quirky piece that everyone will love.
The story details the exploits of a bear who stows away from darkest Peru and turns up at Paddington Station. The Browns take him in, but trouble seems to follow him around. Whether it’s his disastrous attempts at magic, to his attempt to find a hidden master, the bear from 32 Windsor Gardens is always a joy to read about.
The film is a little different, his introduction to the Browns is, however, spectacular. There is a poignant image of Londoners swirling around Paddington, but we see no faces-we see umbrellas dancing everywhere but to Paddington. The film meeting of the family is, however, one of the highlights of the brilliant film.
Though not a novel but a collection of short stories (and as such no plot, which the film had to introduce), the curious bear with the hard stare will bring mirth as he explores, and connects with people as a child-and as such, restraints felt by adults are simply not present. He is only too willing to go and confront an actor in his dressing room in the interval of a play, something most people would not dream of. The beauty of Paddington is not just slapstick, but there are some genuinely funny one liners, which will make you chuckle time after time.
There really is nothing wrong with either the film or the book, the film sports a star-studded cast-Hugh Bonneville of ‘Downton’ Abbey fame, Michael Gambon of ‘Harry Potter’, Jim Broadbent of ‘The Iron Lady’-I could go on, reciting the entire cast. The book caters to all ages, and deservedly has gone down as the stuff of British culture legend.
–£2.37 Kindle (not available)
Publishing house-Harper Collins
My edition-1997, 143 pages
Value for money-about average, no shocks here-★★★½
Character development-to not love Paddinton you have to have a heart of stone, he is excellently developed, his family and close friends are also done well-★★★★★
Readabillity-excellent, excellent read for any age, a must read to children, and good for a laugh for anyone-★★★★★
Overall-a heartwarming, beautiful, incredible collection of tales (with incredible illustrations) about a bear called Paddington who gets into all sorts of mischief-which makes us love him even more-★★★★★ (100)