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Paddington Here and Now


Paddington Here and Now

For nearly two generations, young readers have been entertained by the adventures of a young bear discovered in a train station by a family in London. A BEAR CALLED PADDINGTON first hit bookshelves in 1958 and became a hit both in its native UK and around the world. And although 2008 celebrates the 50th anniversary of Paddington Bear, it's been almost 30 years since his creator, Michael Bond, has written a new Paddington book. The newest addition to the Paddington collection, PADDINGTON HERE AND NOW, conjures the feel and spirit of the series so well, you'd never guess the old bear has been away for so long.

As with past books in the series, each chapter presents itself as a small short story in which Paddington, still attempting to manage the culture shock associated with living in London after being raised in Darkest Peru, finds himself in a neverending set of hilarious misunderstandings and ill-conceived (but heartfelt) attempts to do good. In one chapter, a concert promoter puts Paddington on the bill for an upcoming charity concert after watching the young bear masterfully play the piano (when, in reality, it was a player piano and Paddington was simply trying to follow the keys with his paws). In another chapter, Paddington unknowingly talks to a tabloid reporter who writes a story based on a misunderstanding, believing Paddington to assert that Jonathan Brown once traded an internal organ for a pencil box (when, in fact, Jonathan traded a mouth organ).

All the characters from the series are back: Mr. and Mrs. Brown; their children, Jonathan and Judy; their housekeeper, Mrs. Bird; their grouchy neighbor, Mr. Curry; and Paddington's close friend, Mr. Gruber. Mention is made of Paddington's beloved Aunt Lucy, and Paddington gives his hardest stares ever. But even though reading this book is like catching up with a long, lost friend, the familiar people and situations are carefully peppered with references that clearly set it in contemporary society. Paddington and the Browns take a trip up the London Eye; Paddington attempts to pay for a trip around the world with a voucher for a single air mile. The result is an entertaining read that retains all the charm the books are known for while adding a sense of modern sensibilities. In essence, we are reminded of how seemingly timeless the stories of this unique bear really are.

If you grew up reading and loving these books as I did, PADDINGTON HERE AND NOW will transport you back to that special time and place when you first met the loveable bear from Peru. If you're new to Paddington, you won't be lost if you start with PADDINGTON HERE AND NOW (the author does a good job of bringing new readers up to speed), but I'd recommend tracking down A BEAR CALLED PADDINGTON to get a feel for how this all got started.

PADDINGTON HERE AND NOW demonstrates why these books have endured as a staple of children's literature for 50 years. Paddington is as adorable as when he first appeared in Paddington Station with a marmalade sandwich under his hat (which he keeps for emergencies). This welcome return confirms something fans have known for quite a while: you've been away far too long, Paddington!

Reviewed by Brian Farrey on May 27, 2008

Paddington Here and Now
by Michael Bond

  • Publication Date: June 1, 2008
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0061473642
  • ISBN-13: 9780061473647