03 January 2008

Please (don't) look after this bear--Paddington seeks asylum

Still catching up on my holiday surfing....

I saw this piece in the Guardian about the upcoming Paddington book, Paddington Here and Now, which is Michael Bond's first Paddington book in eons, written to commemorate the bear's 50th birthday. Evidently Paddingon gets into trouble with the London Metropolitan Police when they realize that he is in the country, if not illegally, then certainly suspiciously. I kid you not! Bond says that the intent of the book is not to write a "hot-button" story for kids, but to simply highlight for them the isolation one can feel when in a country that is not their own. To that I say look no further than Shaun Tan's outstanding wordless graphic novel The Arrival. But getting back to Paddington. While the thought of Paddington Bear being shipped back to darkest Peru seems comical, it sort of lends itself to the debate about revising books in order to bring them up-to-date with current sensibilities. In fact, it is an excellent example of why it's really not a good idea to revisit and revise the classics (or even the less than classic, but simply beloved.) It's nice to think that there was a time when Paddington could turn up on a train station in a busy capital and trust that someone would have the goodness of heart to see him for his worth and give him a safe and comfortable place to live. I'll have to reserve judgement until I've read the book, but I wish we could be celebrating Paddington's big 5-0 a little less oddly.

No comments:

Add This


Blog Widget by LinkWithin