Bear ne­ces­si­ties

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

THE mar­malade-lov­ing bear’s fi­nal ad­ven­ture, Padding­ton at St Paul’s, in which he is mis­taken for a choir­boy on an out­ing with Mr Gru­ber, is pub­lished to­mor­row (Harpercollins, £12.99). His cre­ator, Michael Bond, died last year. ‘He was work­ing on it very shortly be­fore he died,’ ex­plains his daugh­ter, Karen Jankel. ‘He kept that magic touch right un­til the end. He al­ways had to be writ­ing, it was al­ways his way, right through his life.

‘I feel so for­tu­nate that his spirit lives on through Padding­ton,’ she con­tin­ues, ‘who is a very im­por­tant mem­ber of our fam­ily and, I hope, will con­tinue to be so for a long time to come.’

Il­lus­trated by R. W. Al­ley, as ‘Padding­ton’ sto­ries have been since 1997, the new and fi­nal tale marks the 60th an­niver­sary of the first, A Bear Called Padding­ton (1958). Since then, the ‘Padding­ton’ books have sold more than 35 mil­lion copies world­wide and the bear’s ad­ven­tures have been trans­lated into 40 dif­fer­ent lan­guages. Harpercollins will be cel­e­brat­ing the an­niver­sary from June to De­cem­ber this year, with new-edi­tion books, par­ties and sto­ry­telling events.

Ex­ec­u­tive pub­lisher Ann-ja­nine Murtagh com­ments: ‘Michael Bond’s Padding­ton Bear sto­ries are marked by the author’s deeply felt val­ues of jus­tice and tolerance, hope and op­ti­mism and in­fused with his in­fec­tious hu­mour and joie de vivre. They are as rel­e­vant to read­ers to­day as they were when he first wrote them nearly 60 years ago.’

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