by Michael Bond, published 1958
“You know, Henry,” said Mrs. Brown as they watched Paddington go up the stairs to bed, looking rather sticky and more than a little sleepy, “it’s nice having a bear about the house.”
Sometimes I feel like I’m so ‘retro’, and also the last to know what everyone else does. Take Paddington Bear, for example. I didn’t read it when I was little (born before it was popular.) I definitely never saw any dvds or movies of it. And when I read it with my grandson, I thought it was just one small illustrated children’s book, which wouldn’t be something suited for Litkidz library.
Then, at the public library, I found the real deal, and what a great children’s book. It’s a real chapter book, perfect for young readers who have just learned to read, with a few choice illustrations to keep it moving. There’s nothing ‘too cute’ about this classic book, which is probably what happened to it once it migrated to the world of advertising. It’s a solidly good reading book, with lovely subtle British humor, and short chapters, each of which has some little challenge to be overcome. I love the resourcefulness and cheery attitude that Paddington exhibits every step of the way.
So my invitation to you is skip all the other versions, find this original, hardcover edition with eight chapters, avoid the DVDs, and let your young reader have a go. You may need to help out with big words if they are only 5 years old, but by 7, much of the book can be easily read with only small amounts of help. A lovely classic book that just delights the heart. (As a side note, I also read Paddington Here and Now, written by the author on the 50th anniversary of the original book. This sequel has all the normal references to contemporary life, and somehow, it lost its magic for me. I prefer a timeless Paddington myself!)