New story, editions slated to mark Paddington Bear’s 60th

Paddington is celebrating 60 years. — Handout via AFPPaddington is celebrating 60 years. — Handout via AFPLONDON, March 13 — Late British author Michael Bond’s beloved Paddington Bear turns 60 in 2018, an occasion that will be marked with the release of a brand-new story as well as a lavish picture book and a new story collection.

Paddington Bear was “born” in 1958, when HarperCollins first published Bond’s A Bear Called Paddington. That book, with illustrations by Peggy Fortnum, went on to become one of the best-known children’s books, selling more than 35 million copies worldwide and translated into 40 languages.

This year, Paddington’s publisher is honouring the beloved bear with a string of new books, their releases bookended by Paddington’s two birthdays, as taken from the book — June 25 and December 25.

The publishing will launch with Paddington at St Paul’s, the last Paddington title written by Michael Bond before he died last year. The new story will be joined by a new edition of the first picture book Paddington.

In October, a lavish hardcover edition of A Bear Called Paddington, with full-colour illustrations by Peggy Fortnum, will be joined by a new compendium of classic stories titled The Complete Adventures of Paddington.

In the UK, parties, storytelling events and appearances by the bear himself will also take place through the summer.

As the story goes, on Christmas Eve 1956, Michael Bond — then working as a BBC cameraman — bought a small toy bear he found alone on a department store shelf. He gave the bear to his wife, and was inspired to begin writing the story of Paddington one day when he saw the bear sitting on their mantle, taking the bear’s name from nearby Paddington Station.

In addition to the beloved books, Paddington has gone on to inspire two films, the second of which was released in November. — AFP-Relaxnews