Paddington At The Circus
Michael Bond with illustrations by Fred Banbery/ published 1974 by Random House
Though not one of the original books or illustrated by the original artist Peggy Fortnum, those of us born in the seventies probably remember Paddington Bear best from The Paddington Picture Books series, written by Bond specifically for smaller children with more lavish illustrations. There were four in the series, and if my mind doesn't deceive me, I believe I had them in a box set. I recently bought one from Goodwill, and then found one of my originals on a shelf in my mom's attic, and they are still as cute and funny as the day I remember getting them as a gift from my dad. My first (and only) trip to London when I was in my early 20s found me in Paddington Station for the same reason that millions of other nerdy children's books tourists go there. To be in the presence of the little bear from deepest, darkest Peru.
I am still mad about these drawings and the marmalade and the sweet dot of a nose and straight fur that looks particularly adorable when wet. Good thing the boy gets it, or I might've hoarded them for myself ~ tucking them away on my beside table, strategically hidden under the current issue of Vanity Fair. This book in the series finds Paddington wishing he was a circus clown and causing all sorts of chaos under the big top. But of course, what would Judy and Jonathan do without him!?!
"Do you still want to join a circus, Paddington?" asked Judy later that night. Paddington shook his head. And then a faraway look came into his eyes as he tested his sheets carefully to make sure he was carefully tucked in.
"But it was very nice to be asked," he said. "I don't suppose there are many bears from Peru who can say they've been on a trapeze."