More than Marmalade: Michael Bond and the Story of Paddington Bear
One day, while searching for inspiration at his typewriter, hoping for a big story that would allow him to write full time, a stuffed bear on top of the shelf—a Christmas present for his wife—suddenly caught his eye. Bond poured his personal feelings about the events of his era—the refugee children his family had hosted in the countryside, a war-torn country in recovery, the bustling immigrant neighborhood where he lived—into the story of a little bear from Peru who tries very, very hard to do things right. The result was A Bear Called Paddington.
An incredible true tale, More than Marmalade: Michael Bond and the Story of Paddington Bear is the first biography about the writer behind the beloved series. Author Rosanne Tolin reveals how world history, Bond’s life, and 1950s immigrant culture were embedded into Paddington’s creation, bringing middle-grade readers a delightful, informative, and engaging book with a timely message of acceptance.
I learned so much about Michael Bond, the author of Paddington Bear. I appreciated the insight about his early life, how he grew up and the things that came to inspire him later on to create the beloved Paddington Bear. His childhood home was warm and he was lucky to have “aunties” that were happy to look after him. He was a reader and grew up surrounded by books.
But while his early childhood was a happy one, Michael Bond also got to witness the chaos of World War II. Refugees, mostly children, came from other countries and Michael’s family even welcomed two into their home. Seeing people lose loved ones or being forced to live with strangers left a strong impression, which is something that is later on reflected in his works, most importantly, in Paddington Bear, who is also an immigrant looking for someone to take him home.
Oh but Michael Bond’s publication journey is such a long one and it’s both inspiring and relatable to so many writers. To quote Michael Bond’s grandfather: “You can do anything with your life but you must stick with it. Never give up. Keep going, and one day you’ll find yourself doing exactly what you want.”
And that’s how Paddington Bear came to be. Drawn part from life & from a lonely bear sitting in a toy shop on Christmas day. Michael Bond created a wonderful character that is very much alive to this date.
I am feeling pretty nostalgic now and all I want to do is to watch Paddington Bear episodes & eat some toast with orange marmalade!
Rosanne Tolin wrote a beautiful biography about the story behind Paddington Bear and it’s a great read for Middle Grades & Adults alike.
*Reviewed first on www.thereaderandthechef.com *