Guess what?! The Easter Bunny left a surprise on our doorstep – a brand new Paddington Bear picture book! WooHoo!
Needless to say, all the furry Alphabet Soup kitchen helpers, especially the 70-something resident Paddingtons, are simply beside themselves. After several jubilant paw pumps and back flips, they cartwheeled from room to room before finally settling down long enough to actually crack open the book.
This new story is a welcome treasure, truly a rare gift for all Paddington fans, since dear Mr Bond passed away in 2017 (and we’ve all missed him terribly). But. It seems his agent discovered an old story Mr Bond had written with his daughter Karen Jankel for a charity newsletter back in 1995. Why not turn it into a picture book?
So Paddington illustrator extraordinaire R.W. Alley created some brand new illustrations, and, I must say, he’s really outdone himself. 🙂
In this toothsome tale, Paddington’s organizing an Easter Egg Hunt for his neighborhood’s fundraising extravaganza. Much to his dismay, the chocolate eggs he wanted to buy from the supermarket are sold out. After checking a boutique shop down the road, he learns their eggs are too expensive. “They cost fifteen pounds each?” – and that was for the smallest egg. He needs at least 20. Activate hard stare.
What to do?
Maybe Mr Gruber can help. On the way to his daily elevenses, Paddington hears a man hawking bargain Easter eggs – just fifty pence each or ten pounds for two dozen. We all know Paddington loves a good bargain, so he bought a box, despite the fact that those “factory fresh” eggs had just fallen off the back of a truck that morning.
When he opens the box at Mr Gruber’s – oh no! – all the eggs are broken into “dozens of small pieces.” They remind him of the floor mosaics in Mr Gruber’s Roman history book.
Then – a light bulb moment. After buying some extra marmalade, Paddington gets Jonathan and Judy to help him repair all the broken eggs. Did you know marmalade makes a capital glue?
Meanwhile, Mr Gruber had alerted the police to Easter egg seller “Delivery Dan,” who’s famous for stealing goods off the back of trucks. Thanks to Paddington, they’ve finally caught the scoundrel red-handed.
The next day, Paddington’s Easter Egg Hunt is the highlight of the extravaganza. Using marmalade for fixing those eggs was a brilliant idea – and, as Jonathan can attest – made them even more delicious.
One last thing – Paddington finds a well hidden egg and gives it to Mr Gruber. Never mind that it had started to melt and “there were a few stray whiskers and sandwich crumbs stuck to the foil.” Mr Gruber is honored to receive it – and Paddington, in turn, is grateful Mr Gruber had shared his Roman mosaics book with him. In fact, he’s so pleased with how everything turned out he plans to make more cracked chocolate sticky marmalade eggs next year. 🙂
It felt so good to be back in Paddington’s world – where mishaps are bound to happen but they somehow work themselves out. Ever the optimist, Paddington always finds a way.
Thanks to Bob Alley for bringing our favorite ursine from darkest Peru back to life again with his delightfully detailed, endearing, emotive pictures. How I missed those black ears, the hat raises, those just right facial expressions that truly show the full measure of Paddington’s personality. Bob works such rare magic with pen and ink and watercolor!
It’s impossible to pick a favorite spread, although I do love the Easter egg boutique shop, the row of sellers along Portobello Road, and that glorious double page spread of the Windsor Gardens Extravaganza (games! popcorn! balloon hats! one-man band! oh-so-British bunting!).
Must also mention how much I love “Tea O’Clock” right next door to “Gruber Fine Antiques.” Take me there now, please. And there’s also that spread of Paddington putting on his duffle coat in the hall: it looks like my house with the same black and white checkered floor and door casing with the corner rosettes. Maybe this means I should live in this book. 🙂
About this project, Ms. Jankel said:
When I first re-read this story that we wrote together many years ago it brought back some very happy memories of working with my father. I’m sure he would have been as delighted as I am that, together with Bob Alley’s charming illustrations, it’s been turned into such a lovely picture book.
As Times reviewer Alex O’Connell added, “It’s reassuring that Bond can still let us live for a little in a world where broken things can be put together with marmalade and baddies are easily punished.”
Certainly, at a time when our world feels broken, books like these can help reassure children that justice can prevail, and that there are good people amongst us who care about doing the right thing.
Just the read for eggheads, chocoholics and arctophiles of all ages, Paddington’s Easter Egg Hunt is also a fun lesson in creative problem solving. And now, I need another chocolate egg, with or without marmalade.
Please look after this book. Thank you.
PADDINGTON’S EASTER EGG HUNT
written by Michael Bond & Karen Jankel
illustrated by R.W. Alley
published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, March 2022
Picture Book for ages 3+, 32 pp.
♥️ Enjoy the zippity quick book trailer:
♥️ Read my interview with Bob Alley about Paddington at St Paul’s.
🐰 HAVE A BEARY CHOCOLATY EASTER! 🐥
Yes, our resident Paddingtons really love this book (wait for it)!
*Interior spreads text copyright © 2022 The Estate of Michael Bond and Karen Jankel, illustrations © 2022 R.W. Alley. Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books. All rights reserved.
**Copyright © 2022 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.