Paddington's Adventures by Michael Bond
|Paddington's Adventures by Michael Bond|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Not one, but three, full books of witty, charming, old-fashioned yet necessary reads, that will probably be picked up by more than one generation in the house.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 480||Date: March 2014|
|Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books|
Paddington might be mistaken for a suitable wedding usher, a doctor, and an illegal busker, but he is really just the original bear from Darkest Peru, with the charming ability to get into as many scrapes as one could wish. Paddington might cause confusion at the dentist's, the gymkhana or at the posh restaurant, but he will always land on his feet. Paddington might be able to completely befuddle a host of school teachers, a judge or anyone, but he is still the most loved occupant of the Brown's household, 32 Windsor Gardens, London. And this trilogy shows how he should be pretty much loved in many other households too.
You probably don't need me to tell you that three full original Paddington books in one is stonking value, or that they're full of old-school charm and inventive japes that will make more than one generation smile. If you don't recognise the name of Peggy Fortnum, it's the one that gives the stamp of officialdom to the pictures here, for although many of us older readers will fondly remember the TV version of Paddington's escapades, these original scratchy inkworks are the definitive visual accompaniment, and should be treated as reverently as those first awarded to Lewis Carroll, AA Milne, etc.
The TV series never convinced me about Mrs Bird, the housekeeper – she didn't look very friendly or pleasant to my young eyes, but it's clear here the next-door neighbour is the one to look out for, especially when he uses Paddington as his golf caddy. (Although when there's a bizarre mention of some old handcuffs belonging to the human son of the household, Jonathan, I began to have my doubts about him.) This collection, starting with Paddington Goes to Town, written ten years into the bear's written life, and completed with …Takes the Air and …on Top, shows that of several changes made since the original volume one is the use of more recurring characters.
They also have several things in common, however – the vague mention of the kids' school calendar, and an ending about Christmastime, yet nobody aging whatsoever. They show an absurdist's eye for what is unusual and silly about the English way of life, never more so than with old blokes on a park bench, or in a story describing a rugby match. They also, bar perhaps the tale '… Strikes a Bargain', have a perfectly high quality level, showing that Bond, while he may have rustled up thirteen whole books of the Bear by now, knew what he was doing in maintaining a standard. By this time in the series he was flowing one chapter into the next, so that they were not always self-contained episodes, although no book became a full novel, and it's surprising considering the original collection how little we have here of the Browns, especially the children. But that only gives us more Paddington, which is very good value indeed, to quote one of PB's concerns, and an exceedingly good thing.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T S Eliot and Rebecca Ashdown (Illustrator) is a different beast, except it will also be shared through the generations.
You can read more book reviews or buy Paddington's Adventures by Michael Bond at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Paddington's Adventures by Michael Bond at Amazon.com.
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