Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Paddington Takes to TV

Paddington Takes to TV

Michael Bond
Illustrator:  Peggy Fortnum 
Fiction  Series
For ages 7 to 10
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002   ISBN: 978-0618250714

Most of us dream of getting onto the television, but few of us ever get to achieve this dream. We are forced admire our favorite television personalities from afar. Not so with Paddington Brown. This bear somehow always manages to get into the spotlight, even on television.

It all begins when Paddington wins a prize on the Blue Peter children's TV show. As one of the six winners he has been invited to bake a Christmas cake which he will then take to the Blue Peter show. He, and his cake, will then be shown on television. The best cake will win a special prize. Not surprisingly Mrs. Bird, the Brown's housekeeper, is not too keen on having Paddington use her kitchen for his cooking endeavors. So, instead, Paddington uses Mr. Brown's field kitchen which is set up in the garage.

Using the recipe provided by one of the Blue Peter stars, Paddington combines all his ingredients. His mixture is rather stiff however and it is very hard to mix. He decides to try using the spin dryer to do the job and I am sorry to say that the results are rather frightful. Still, in spite of everything, Paddington manages to salvage some of the cake mixture and then he puts the cake into the field kitchen. Unfortunately the cake rises rather dramatically and Paddington is confronted with a very large problem. In the end he takes his cake to the studio as planned but when the hosts of the program attempt to cut into the cake Paddington has to explain what happened during the cooking process. Then the hosts, and all the viewers of the show, discover that Paddington's cake is not just a cake. Not being able to separate the cake from the oven after the baking was completed, Paddington simply iced over the whole thing – cake and oven!

This is just one of seven delightful stories which feature Paddington doing something which relates to the Blue Peter show. In one he bird-sits the parrot from the show and manages to lose the much loved bird. In another he enters a Blue Peter competition for which he has to make a special origami creation. Instead of using paper Paddington ends up using a very novel medium for his piece of art – and he wins the competition.

Young television fans will greatly enjoy this collection of Paddington stories. They were originally written for the Blue Peter annual. Having been a cameraman for the program, Michael Bond decided to involve his beloved bear in the doings of this show and that was how Paddington came to get so closely involved with the enormously popular television program.