Age Range: 6+
From the moment that the Brown family meet a small bear on Paddington Station their life changes as the bear brings his own particular brand of chaos into their household! I have just finished reading the first two Paddington books to my daughter and there were two stories that made me laugh so much that I had tears rolling down my face as I struggled to keep reading. It is very rare that a character and his adventures have that effect on me! We’re looking forward to reading more stories now.
Paddington Bear (named after the station) goes to live with Mr and Mrs Brown, their children Jonathan and Judy and Mrs Bird, the housekeeper, at Number thirty-two Windsor Gardens in London. He is particularly fond of marmalade and carries marmalade sandwiches with him in case of emergencies (often under his hat!). Every morning he enjoys a mug of cocoa (elevenses) with his good friend, Mr Gruber, who runs an antique shop, and on several occasions he inadvertently causes the wrath of his grumpy next door neighbour, Mr Curry.
A Bear Called Paddington: The Brown family find a bear on Paddington Station and take him home with them. The chaos and mess starts almost immediately as Paddington floods the bathroom whilst having a bath. A first trip on the underground as part of a shopping trip proves to be extremely stressful for Mrs Brown as Paddington tries to make sense of the new experiences of riding on an escalator and buying himself a hat and coat. Painting a masterpiece, going on a trip to the theatre and a day of fun at the seaside all provide more entertainment before Paddington celebrates a magical birthday in the final chapter.
We’ve read the picture book, watched the television episode and listened to the story on CD but my daughter never tires of hearing how Paddington arrived to live with the Brown family and how his first bath caused so much mess. We love the way that he interprets everyday experiences and found the story of the theatre trip especially amusing. Drawn into the action on the stage Paddington rushes down to rescue the leading lady which leads to him being given a particularly important job for the duration of the play.
More About Paddington: The first two stories in this book made me cry with laughter! In the first chapter Paddington buys an old camera and tries to take a picture of the family, in the second chapter he decides to decorate his new bedroom. The theft of Mr Brown’s marrow plus mysterious goings on at a local building site cause Paddington to become a detective and he has fun on his first Bonfire Night despite inadvertently incurring Mr Curry’s wrath. He has his first experience of snow and enjoys a snowball fight before succumbing to flu. Luckily he recovers in time for a Christmas shopping expedition with Mrs Brown before spending his first Christmas with the Brown family.
We laughed when Paddington got his head stuck in the old fashioned camera and fell into a rose bush, it gave us an opportunity to talk about pre digital cameras. We also found it really funny when he tried his decorate his new bedroom, his enthusiasm for wallpapering led to hilarious consequences. There was also a sombre side to this book when Paddington became ill, even Mr Curry was concerned for his welfare, and my daughter was very pleased when he recovered in time for Christmas.
A Bear Called Paddington was first published in 1958 and many more books have been published since. The stories are timeless and give children of today a unique and humorous look at life nearly fifty years ago.