A Bear Called Paddington is the title of the first of a series of children’s books written by Michael Bond. He has written several other titles, but I don’t think the others have surpassed Paddington in popularity.
As per the title, the book is about a bear from Darkest Peru (I guess a place that’s found only in the rich imagination of Mr. Bond), who finds himself in London after stowing away on a boat. He survives on plankton and marmalade.
He eventually finds his way to Paddington Station and meets Mr. Henry Brown and his wife, Mary.
They informally adopt him then and there, gives him the name Paddington* (after the station he was found in) and Paddington the Bear becomes a member of the Brown family. He later meets siblings Judy and Jonathan, and the (his words) rather fierce, Mrs. Bird, who turns out to have a soft spot for bears.
*Somebody whose name I can’t remember right now once posted a comment that it wasn’t exactly PC for the Browns to insist on naming Paddington; they should have made the effort to get used to his real name, which he himself admitted was hard to pronounce. I don’t remember his name because I don’t find his comment helpful or relevant. Bond wrote it that way, let’s accept it that way. Besides I don’t think the Peruvians really mind that much. (See the link at the end of this post.)
The series chronicle Paddington’s adventures as he gets used to the life so far removed from his native Peru. The antics of neighbors such as Mr. Curry and the ever-ready advice from Mr. Gruber add sugar and spice to the stories.
I didn’t know Michael Bond until I read Paddington (I read it back in elementary school—I was a few years older than the book’s suggested reading age) but I liked his style immediately. I would readily recommend the Paddington series to parents who wish their kids to start mastering reading English. The stories (there are lots of them) are very entertaining, and the books themselves are hard to put down.
I enjoyed Paddington so much I asked my cousin, who lives in the United States, to get me a plush toy. I’m not exactly sure, but I
think she had a hard time finding one. Anyway, that plush (see picture) is now on my desk, right next to Guyito, the mascot of Philippine Daily Inquirer. One caveat though: my Paddington has a red hat, which in “reality” is should be grey or earth tone in color—it’s supposed to be a native bush hat. (My students will probably be surprised that their stern professor has a soft spot for these things.) The original tag around his neck, “Please take care of this bear,” was lost in the laundry, so I made a new one.
If you’re interested in Paddington merchandize, you can go to the official website. The website also has news and information regarding everything Paddington.
(A neat little article about Paddington can be found here.)