Paddington at St Pauls
R. W. Alley
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Sixty years ago today, on October 13, 1958 a small bear with a blue coat, a red hat, a suitcase and a note pinned to his coat which read “Please look after this bear” was found by the Brown family at Paddington Station London. Sent from darkest Peru by his Aunt Lucy who has gone into a retirement home, the little bear was a stowaway on a lifeboat where he survived on marmalade until the Browns renamed him Paddington and took him to their home at 32 Windsor Gardens near Notting Hill.
And so began a great series of adventures culminating in this final addition, completed before Bond’s death in June 2017 and issued to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Paddington’s arrival.
Also being released are anniversary editions of the main Paddington Bear series, each of which has a number of chapters which work either as a continuing story or a stand-alone episode, making them perfect as read-alouds to get the child used to the concept of the continuing characters in novels or read-alones for the newly independent reader.
With more than 35 million copies sold worldwide, translated into 40 languages, television and features movies, Paddington Bear is arguably one of the most favourite bears in the world. To have the stories republished, an exquisite gift edition of the first story with the original illustrations by Peggy Fortnum, and this final chapter is indeed a fitting anniversary gift to introduce a new generation to this series inspired by a lone teddy that Bond saw on a shelf in a London toy store and the children who were evacuated from English cities during World War II.