Literature: Paddington Bear

A reprint of A Bear Called Paddngon, the first book in the series.

"Please Look After This Bear. Thank You."

A series of books first appearing in 1958, written by Michael Bond, about the antics of a small anthropomorphic brown bear who lives with an ordinary London family. Paddington is usually seen wearing a blue duffel coat (a somewhat old-fashioned warm coat fastened by toggles) and rather shapeless black hat (though more modern versions sometimes give him a red hat instead, or even reverse the colours for a blue hat and red coat).

Paddington books continued to be written throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and spawned a TV series of 5 minute shorts that ran from 1975 to 1986. The unique visual style (Paddington himself is a stop-motion figure, the backgrounds are black-and-white line drawings and the other characters are 2D paper cutouts) and catchy theme tune led to it becoming a well-loved childhood favourite.

A live-action movie was released in December of 2014, with Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, and Ben Whishaw as the voice of Paddington.

These books contains examples of:

  • Accidental Bid: Paddington Bear once went to an auction. He found it a very friendly place. People kept on waving at him, so naturally he waved back...
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Until Paddington Marches On (1964), where he gets Wellington boots for Christmas. This became established as part of his Iconic Outfit because it let the soft toys stand upright.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Averted, yet also played straight in a mild way. Paddington is courteous, completely non-violent, and freaking adorable, yet has quite a knack for getting into all sorts of trouble, whether it's accidentally destroying his neighbor's hammock, letting a marmalade sandwich slip inside a film projector, or trashing the kitchen with one of his sloppy baking attempts.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Tends to be the fate of everyone who tries to pull a fast one on a certain Peruvian bear. Mr. Curry tends to come in for the most and worst of it, but then he is one of those neighbors that takes advantage.
  • Cool Old Guy: Mr. Gruber
  • Comic-Book Time: Although London changes, Paddington and the Browns don't.
  • Covers Always Lie: Averted in the first edition, but the covers of modern editions almost unfailingly show Paddington in a blue duffel coat and red hat. Paddington's hat is (mostly) black, and he receives his duffel coat during a shopping trip with the Browns.
  • Cross Over: Two books featured Paddington's adventures with the cast of Blue Peter, for which Michael Bond worked as a cameraman.
  • Death Glare: Paddington's "hard stare"
  • Doorstop Baby: The Browns found him sitting on the platform of Paddington Station, near the lost property office, with a label round his neck bearing the words "Please Look After This Bear. Thank You."
  • Fish out of Water: One of the main sources of humor and plot. Paddington emigrated from Darkest Peru and thus is very unfamiliar with British life.
    • How unfamiliar? In the first chapter, Mister Brown takes him to a buffet and buys him a cream-filled bun — which he proceeds to eat while sitting on the table. (To be fair, he had to stand on the chair to reach the table.)
  • Grumpy Old Man: Mr. Curry
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Paddington is a bear from Peru, but looks like a a brown bear from the Northern Hemisphere.
    • Averted in the books, thanks to a keen-eyed editor. Originally, Paddington was going to be from Darkest Africa, but there are no native bears among the wildlife in that area. That said, of course, Paddington did say he was a very rare sort of bear.
  • Nice Guy: Paddington is the most charming and polite people you could meet.
  • Nice Hat: Paddingon's distinctive hat is called a bush hat given to him by his Uncle Pastuzo
    • ... with stains passed down by his forebears, no less.
  • Orwellian Retcon: On a minor scale. More modern editions of the Paddington books have sometimes added sequences where the Bear is informed just how dangerous certain stunts he's done actually are (such as taking apart a television set) and Paddington exclaims that he hopes no young children ever imitate such an unsafe act.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Marmalade.
  • Weirdness Censor: Everyone in London seems surprisingly cool that the Browns have adopted a bear. That talks.
    Taxi Driver: Bears is sixpence extra. Sticky bears is ninepence.
    • Truth in Television because, well, this is London. As long as you act civilized, they really don't care what species you are.
    • In contrast, when Paddington competes in a popular TV game show, the host briefly experiences Sanity Slippage.
      • Though it's hard to say whether that's because he was a bear (and thus the source of some truly horrible puns by the host) or because his answers were... unusual. Or both.