please look after Love from Paddington by Michael Bond. thank you.

Guess who’s having a birthday?

Michael Bond, who created Paddington, my most favorite bear character in all of children’s literature, turns 89 today!

photo by Sue Foll

Thought we’d celebrate by taking a look at his latest novel, Love from Paddington (HarperCollins, 2014), the 14th chapter book in his beloved series featuring the marmalade-loving, well-mannered, endlessly charming “rare sort of bear” from Darkest Peru.

Thanks to Mr. Bond, we now have vital proof that bears are indeed good letter writers. LFP contains 15 of Paddington’s letters to his dear Aunt Lucy describing how he met the Brown family at London’s Paddington Station, and about some of the unexpected “misadventures” he gets into (for he’s “just that sort of bear”).

This is the first of the novels to be written in Paddington’s own words, so expect to be totally delighted and amused by his endearing personality and refreshing innocence. Who else could manage to wallpaper himself or saw a table in half while constructing a magazine rack? What happens when he climbs atop a horse, plays a game of cricket, or attends the theatre for the first time? Let’s just say it isn’t every day a marmalade sandwich lands smack dab on a bald man’s head.

It’s hard to pick a favorite episode, but I do love the time Paddington helps out at the barber’s. If some bear accidentally shaves some man’s hair off, the least he can do is glue it back on — and, of course, make further amends with his knowledge of antique Spode Blue Italian bone china (how I love a bear who knows his crockery!).

The man had told me not to touch the top of his head, but it was too late. Whereas it had been covered by a mass of thick black curls, now there wasn’t a hair to be seen. He was completely bald!

There was only one thing for it. I reached for my tube. Mr. Sloop had said his floor was covered with unwanted hair, so I wouldn’t be short of material to repair the damage.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but there were so many different kinds of hair, and so many different colors, it didn’t go as well as I had hoped.

Whatever the mishap, Paddington always lands on his feet and things work out in the end much to everyone’s relief. Love from Paddington is a great way to whet the appetite for the other books in the series, where these stories are described in greater detail. Those who’ve already read the previous books will enjoy hearing Paddington’s unique take on these somewhat sticky adventures, enjoying yet again his strong sense of right and wrong, his capital bargaining skills, his admirable hat-raising politeness, his enduring kindness, his unmatched appetite for chunky marmalade sandwiches, and his masterful hard stare.

Written to coincide with the Paddington movie release, the book contains wonderful pen-and-ink drawings by Peggy Fortnum and R.W. Alley. Ms. Fortnum was the first to depict Paddington on the page back in the late 50’s, and Mr. Alley, Paddington’s current illustrator, has been drawing him since 1997. I think there have been at least 6 different illustrators through the years, but it’s nice to have the first and the most recent represented in this book.

by R.W. Alley
by Peggy Fortnum
by Peggy Fortnum

I’d like to think that part of Paddington’s enduring appeal is the theme of unconditional acceptance and tolerance. He is an immigrant, after all, and an ursine one at that — yet the Browns happily welcome him into their home and he becomes a member of the family just like that. Good manners (often lacking in these crazy times) never go out of style — something I’ve always loved about this bear. Could you resist him if he tipped his hat at you?🙂

But ultimately Paddington is just plain lovable and fun. I enjoy reading his observations about the sights, sounds, and the people he encounters in London. I’ve always said that rescuing a lone bear from a department store shelf on Christmas Eve says a lot about a man.

Thank you, Mr. Bond, for giving us Paddington!

Happy Happy Bearthday!!

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LOVE FROM PADDINGTON
written by Michael Bond
illustrated by Peggy Fortnum and R.W. Alley
published by HarperCollins, December 2014
Chapter Book for ages 8-12, 144 pp.

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MORE CHUNKY GOODNESS

*Don’t forget: the Paddington movie opens January 16!

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Copyright © 2015 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

27 thoughts on “please look after Love from Paddington by Michael Bond. thank you.

  1. Oh wow I am honored to share a birthday with Mr. Bond. This is the sweetest post and that snack is adorable! I bet you can’t wait to watch the movie, Jama.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your birthday too? Fabuloso!! Happy Bearthday to you Catherine. I’m assuming you’re a little younger than 89😀. Have a wonderful day! I will eat a marmalade sandwich or two or three in your honor.

      I’ve heard nothing but raves about the movie — it has a 97% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has been nominated for two BAFTA awards, including Best British Film.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh wow I didn’t realize it was such a big one. I’m glad the kids want to go see it. 89 is amazing, I do feel young now😉

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  2. Is there a home for retired bear lovers who happen to be writers? If so, I think you and I ought to put in our names! I’m a huge Paddington fan myself and am thrilled to know Mr. Bond is still working.

    Love the “Look after” tags, though I doubt Colin Firth needs much looking after. He arrived on Earth perfect! Thanks for a bright lift on a dreary morning.

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    1. Maybe we need to open our own home for retired bear lovers who write.🙂

      I keep meaning to read Bond’s other books — his culinary mystery series as well as his Olga da Polga books. So many books, so little time!

      True that CF arrived on earth perfect, but I’d still like to look after him or just plain look at him.😀

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  3. I’m always so impressed by your photos and photo staging. Really amazing, Jama. Paddington was the first series that captured me as a young reader. I remember saving money so I could go to the Cheshire Cat Book Store in Washington, DC to buy the next Paddington in the series. Thank you for all the Paddington love.

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    1. So happy to know you’re a big Paddington fan too, Anna! And I remember the Cheshire Cat Bookstore — and miss it. I’m still kicking myself for not attending an Arnold Lobel signing they had there once (he died shortly thereafter).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “It seemes like a good idea at the time.” Oh, Paddington. This latest book looks wonderful, but it has me wondering who illustrated my copy of the first Paddington story, because his face here looks a bit unfamiliar. I will have to go check!

    You will be seeing the movie right after its release, right? Because I’ll be waiting for your review!

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    1. P has had quite a few different looks over the years. I enjoy them all.

      I will probably write another post after seeing the movie, though I’m not good at writing reviews without being spoilery.

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  5. This is absolutely wonderful, Jama! I will have to get this for one of my Adorables, whose favorite stuffed animal is….(you guessed it!)…a bear! You are so creative and it is such fun to read your posts. Thank you for illuminating the world of children’s literature and poetry! Aloha!

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    1. Happy New Year, Margo! SO happy to hear you have a bear lover in the family. All the resident Paddingtons are tipping their hats in approval.🙂

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  6. I have an almost 2 year old little Evelyn Mae to introduce Paddington to in March.. She may just get her first book and bear! My 8 year old granddaughter will love the new Paddington book–she loves stuffed animals in general! I am reminding some elementary teachers I know to take a look at those lesson plans. Thank you.

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    1. It’s nice that there are Paddington picture books for the younger ones as well as middle grade novels for independent readers. I think there are also some early readers, too. How fun to be the one to give a child her first bear book and bear!

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