“A bear? On Paddington station?” Mrs Brown looked at her husband in amazement. “Don’t be silly, Henry. There can’t be!”
But there it was, sitting on a suitcase with a label around its neck, surveying the world earnestly from beneath a very battered hat. ‘Please look after this bear. Thank you’ said the label – and how could the Browns refuse such a polite request?
Paddington went home with them to eat marmalade sandwiches and the rest, as they say, is history.
In the 60 years since A Bear Called Paddington was published, his adventures have been translated into 40 languages and many millions of copies of the books have been sold across the world.
Described by his creator Michael Bond as ‘eternally optimistic’, Paddington stands up for fairness and common sense but is always getting himself into scrapes despite his best intentions.
“I know just what (Paddington’s) thinking,” Bond said, shortly before his death last year at the age of 91. “To me he’s very real.” And it’s this combination of integrity, belief and joie de vivre that gives Bond’s stories their enduring appeal.
A Bear Called Paddington remains as engagingly fresh and accessible today as it was in 1958 and is great fun to read aloud. The chapters feature linked yet self-contained stories, offering rich opportunities for cross-curricular activities.
There’s also plenty of scope for children to read on independently through the other titles in the series.
Schools can get 60% off Paddington novels until 30th November 2018, with free postage on orders over £20. Use code PB60 at harpercollins.co.uk.
Sign up here for your free Brilliant Teacher Box Set
Looking for smarter ways to assess primary English?