Today I’ve got a sweet-and-sticky giveaway, courtesy of the good folks at Chicago Review Press and Rosanne Tolin, author of a brand new biography of Paddington Bear’s creator, Michael Bond.
More than Marmalade: Michael Bond and the Story of Paddington Bear,
by Rosanne Tolin
published in 2020 by Chicago Review Press
In an account permeated with affection, Tolin ambles through Michael Bond’s life at a leisurely pace, padding its contours with swaths of mid-century-England color and cheery, pocket-sized anecdotes. Along the way, we learn of the life experiences which eventually gave rise to Bond’s most famous character.
Bond was born in 1926 and came of age during WWII. His childhood experience of seeing refugee children from both London and abroad arrive at his local railroad station, wait forlornly with their small duffels, an identification tag hung round their neck by a string, touched him deeply.
Thus when Paddington Bear became the central figure in a new story he was writing, the bear turns out to be, likewise, a refugee whose parents had died in darkest Peru and whose aunt had taken him in before he stowed away on ship, comforted by his smuggled jars of marmalade. I had not been aware of Paddington’s origins and for me, it makes the story richer and dearer.
Tolin spends a large portion of her account painting these influential scenes from Bond’s youth before we arrive at the moment when Bond gifts the world with that charming, accident-prone, supremely polite bear.
It’s a sweet, almost nostalgic telling for the most part, though, sadly, the overwhelming popularity of Paddington and Bond’s proclivity towards being a workaholic brought about both depression and the break-up of his family. These are treated with honesty and gentleness.
The biography finishes with the recent release of the two Paddington films, one of which Bond lived to see. He died, age 91, in 2017.
I’d say this book is accessible to ages 8 and up. Some WWII references will be unfamiliar or challenging to many children. It will be especially enjoyed by readers with a penchant for Paddington or kids who harbor their own dreams of becoming an author.
So, here’s the giveaway!
I’ve got a lovely copy of the biography, which is hitting shelves on March 3rd, courtesy of The Chicago Review and Rosanne Tolin. I’ve added a copy of the original book, A Bear Called Paddington, PLUS a jar of Trader Joe’s Seville Orange Marmalade so you can toast up some English Muffins and have yourself a sticky tea-time worthy of Paddington himself!
Enter by commenting on the blog between now and Wednesday, March 4 at 9 p.m. Central Time. Tell us: If Paddington came to your neck of the woods for a visit, what outing would you plan for him? Here in Minneapolis, if it were summertime, I’d take him for a nice bike ride around the lakes. He’d have to hang onto his hat in the breeze for sure!
Winner will be notified on Thursday, March 5 so watch for that blog post.
So sorry, but U.S. mailing addresses only.