Sunday, December 16, 2007

Paddington Bear - Illegal Immigrant?

The shock news that the much loved Paddington Bear is actually an illegal immigrant made major newspapers around the world.

As any fan of Michael Bond's books (and I count myself as one, having grown up with them) will tell you, the marmalade-sandwich loving bear comes from darkest Peru. His great aunt Lucy arranged for him to hide on a ship's lifeboat when she went to live in the Home for Retired Bears in Lima and he was adopted by the Brown family when they saw him among the mail-bags at Paddington station.

Bond's latest book, Paddington Here and Now, marks the 50th anniversary of the first book in the series A Bear Called Paddington, inspired by a teddy bear that he bought at Selfridge's on Christmas Eve as a gift for his wife.

Says the 83 year old Bond in the Bookseller:
Basically, Paddington Bear is a refugee and, when I wrote the first book, one of the things I gave him was a label around his neck to say, ‘Please look after me’. Paddington comes from a different country and there are very few people around him who understand what that feels like. He needs to decide where, for him, is home. ... One of the very nice things about chronicling Paddington’s adventures is that although the world has changed considerably over the past 30 years, he remains exactly the same: eternally optimistic and ever open to what life has to offer. It makes writing the stories a pleasure.
In case you missed the worst teddy bear joke in the whole wide world (or even the universe), read to the end of this post on Nury's blog.

(I found this great photo on Flickr.)


synical said...

O_0 are you kidding me?

guat said...

So my daughter was right! I caught her re-reading, at the age of 14, her Paddington Bear Omnibus and said, "Aren't you a bit too old for that now?" Her reply: "I'm reading them from a postcolonial perspective."

Anonymous said...

Actually, the label says "Please look after this bear. Thank you."

As I recall, this was written on the bus ticket (for Paddington Station) which was tied around his neck with string.

And he's not an illegal immigrant. The law does not say anything about sentient teddy bears.

bibliobibuli said...

synical - not!

guat - like mother like daughter huh. love that!

anon - you are right about the message actually - that's what i remember too

erm ... suspension of disbelief????

guat said...

Actually, not so "like mother like daughter", Sharon. I didn't read the Paddington Bear stories when I was young, and as an adult, I thought Paddington Bear was about the British children and children from Nazi-occupied countries, who were sent off to the British countryside and other parts of the British Commonwealth during the war.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why this is such a shock, unless everyone firmly overlooked the manner in which Paddington arrived because he's not human and immigration laws do not apply to him. (Well, he's not and they don't, but still, if you let your mind wander...)

bibliobibuli said...

guat - haha no. i eant reading stuff from a post-colonial perspective!

tarlia - if you let your mind wander you do rather have to if you read fiction :-D. that's what i meant by "suspension of disbelief".

cavingliz said...

I'm a big fan of Paddington. I've have a 9cm high Paddingon who travels with me on overseas trips, and am also the proud owner of a much taller Paddington bear who is currently living in my mum's house.

animah said...

He can't be an illegal immigrant for as long as governments don't issue passports to teddy bears.

What next? The Wombles are squatters on Wimbledon Common?

And don't you think we should go after the Magic Roundabout gang for illegal substances?

bibliobibuli said...

animah - and that's your homework. have your kids story on my desk as soon as you get back.

Argus Lou said...

And the Hobbits smoke what look like marijuana?