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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*A Bear Called Paddington (50th Anniversary Edition)* by Michael Bond- young readers book review
Also by Michael Bond:

A Bear Called Paddington

The Paddington Treasury: Six Classic Bedtime Stories


Paddington Bear All Day

Paddington Bear Goes to Market
A Bear Called Paddington (50th Anniversary Edition)
by Michael Bond
Ages 8-12 144 pages Houghton Mifflin October 2008 Hardcover    

What better way to bring joy to a child’s heart than to introduce him or her to the world of the most famous bear ever to come out of Darkest Peru, Paddington? Not to mention the joy reading it to one’s kids that parents experience. Heck, although this go ‘round I read the book to myself, as did my fourteen-year-old daughter, we still both loved it. The adventures (and misadventures) of Paddington are timeless - like those of another famous literary bear, Winnie the Pooh - and the enjoyment reading about their exploits one feels knows no generational bounds.

For those yet unfamiliar with the tales of this mischievous young bear - whose favorite garb is a red porkpie hat and a blue coat mackintosh coat fastened with toggles - allow me to enlighten you. He’s a bear whose intense degree of curiosity often gets the better of him, who doesn’t mind the odd bit of self-indulgence when it comes to the food he craves, ranging from bacon and eggs to his favorite delights - sticky buns, cocoa, and, of course, marmalade. Reading about him is, of course, the ideal way to learn more about him, but I shall attempt to give you a taste of author Michael Bond’s creation.

The tale of how he got his name borders on the legendary. The Browns, the family with whom Paddington lives with in England, first see him “on a railway platform” while on their way “to meet their daughter Judy, who was coming home from school for the holidays.” And the name of the railway station? You guessed it: Paddington. The Browns feel sorry for the plight of the young bear that has stowed away on a ship to get to England’s shores, leaving his native land of Peru and his beloved Aunt Lucy who he lived with until, as Paddington puts it, “she had to go into a home for retired bears.”

He’s survived the long voyage by eating marmalade from jars stashed away in his suitcase. Never one to be too keen on personal hygiene issues, Paddington adds to his fur’s stickiness by consuming a large sticky bun filled with “cream and jam” (they have none filled with marmalade; sometimes one is forced to make do with what’s available) that Mr. Brown buys for him a buffet at the train station.

Besides their daughter Judy, the Browns also have a son, Jonathan, and a live-in housekeeper, Mrs. Bird. Paddington is unfamiliar with many things that the Browns take for granted, such as taking baths in a tub (he wonders why taking one in a puddle wouldn’t be just as good). Much of the trouble Paddington gets into results from his not wanting to admit when he isn’t quite sure about something, or when people assume he knows what he’s doing when he really doesn’t. His first experience taking a bath is a case in point.

Left alone to his own devices, Paddington loses track of the time as he fills the tub with water. He uses Mr. Brown’s shaving cream to make a map of South America on the bathroom floor. By the time he decides to get into the tub, it is already starting to overflow. To make matters worse, once in the tub Paddington discovers he has to “stand on tiptoe even to keep his nose above water.” Fortunately for Paddington, the Browns are a forgiving family and accept him into their family with unconditional love, even when water starts to leak from the floor of the upstairs bathroom through the first-floor ceiling and stars to drip on Mr. Brown’s forehead.

This is just he beginning of the hilarious problems that Paddington gets himself in. A Bear Called Paddington (50th Anniversary Edition) is a book to be read over and over again and an excellent introduction to Michael Bond’s other books about Paddington. The superb illustrations by Peggy Fortnum are rendered in full color for this edition, making it the best one yet. Also, an introduction by Michael Bond gives insight into how he came up with the idea for Paddington, giving countless readers the gift of his creation over the decades since.

Long live Paddington! May he be around for at least another fifty years, bringing joy and happiness to kids of all ages.
Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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  Douglas R. Cobb/2008 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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