Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Paddington at Work

Paddington at Work

Michael Bond
Illustrator:  Peggy Fortnum 
Fiction  Series
For ages 7 to 10
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003   ISBN: 978-0618311057

Paddington is back, and with a vengeance. Once again that most loveable of bears causes chaos and pandemonium in his wake. Paddington is on his way home after going to "darkest Peru" to celebrate his Aunt Lucy's birthday at the Home for Retired Bears in Lima. Paddington is returning by sea on the liner Karenia and has made himself quite at home there, making friends with many of the crew. He is quietly relaxing when he sees some people who look like his family, the Browns. And yet it cannot be the Browns for they are at home at Windsor Gardens. Poor Paddington starts to think that something is dreadfully wrong with him and goes to see the ships doctor. In no time the doctor is hopelessly confused and at sea, a state of affairs that is very common when strangers come into contact with Paddington.

As it happens, the Browns are on the Karenia and Paddington is not "halluci-something" after all. They decided to join the ship and surprise their bear friend, never suspecting that Paddington would get such a shock at seeing them.

This is just one of the adventures that Paddington gets himself involved in in this wonderful book. The bear of many parts buys his first stock, tries to cut hair at a barbar's shop, knocks a hole in a wall, and is briefly a primo ballet dancer. Luckily for everyone concerned, Paddington seems to have a guardian bear hovering above, him for things inevitably work out all right in the end.

As always Paddington is funny, entertaining, and true to himself, keeping a sharp eye open for a bun or marmalade sandwich. Peggy Fortnum's black and white ink drawings capture the bear and his charm perfectly.