Sunday 24 November 2013

Marmalade memories

I love Classic children's stories and collect treasuries and picture books of all kinds but I have a particular soft spot for a bear from Peru who likes marmalade sandwiches.

Paddington Bear is one of those best-loved children's characters that really stands the test of time in my opinion, up there with Peter Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh. I mean, what's not to love about a cuddly bear in a duffle coat?

The author, Michael Bond, based Paddington on a teddy bear he found alone on a shelf in a London store near Paddington Station on Christmas Eve in 1956, which he bought as a present for his wife. The bear inspired him to write a story, and in 10 days he had written the first book. The book was given to his agent, Harvey Unna and A Bear Called Paddington was first published on 13th October 1958.

Paddington has worn different colour combinations of clothes over the years. Originally, he arrived from Peru in a dirty coat and Mrs Brown then gave him a new blue duffle coat to wear. He also wore a black hat and when they came to make the first Paddington toy, he was given Wellington boots to help the toys stand up. The current picture books show him with a red hat and blue coat and sometimes his coat is red whilst his hat is blue. 

Ethan was given a special hardcover Paddington book called My Book of Marmalade for his christening and we read this to him other night when settling him down to sleep. It's a 'celebration of sticky paws and marmalade memories' and brings together all of Paddington's knowledge of the tangy orange stuff.

Did you know that the first marmalade was made from quince paste thousands of years ago? Or that Captain Scott took a tin of marmalade on his expedition to the North Pole? Or that the most expensive jar of marmalade was made in 2007 by F. Duerr & Son and contained 24 carat gold flakes? No, neither did we, but after reading this sweet tale, we learnt a great deal about this British breakfast favourite whilst Ethan enjoyed us reading and showing him the illustrations.

It's a lovely tale and a beautiful commemorative book for 50 years of Paddington and by the end, I too quite fancied a taste of this famous bear's favourite sandwich... 

If you'd like to know more about this polite little bear, visit for lots of fun facts and next time I'm in London, I'm definitely going to the special Paddington Bear shop at Paddington Station.

Read more about my thoughts on the importance of reading here.

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