‘Christmas’ from More About Paddington by Michael Bond and illustrated by Peggy Fortnum (taken from The Adventures of Paddington, Collins, 1965, 1970).
When I first decided to tackle my Advent Reading Challenge I knew that Paddington would have to appear in it somewhere. That I have waited until the tenth day demonstrates either a great deal of will power or a highly developed sense of the power of delayed gratification.
Even now, many years after first discovering the small, determined bear from Darkest Peru, I can still find myself giggling at his many mishaps and misunderstandings. Peggy Fortnum’s wonderful drawings of the engaging Paddington also never fail to raise a smile. The copy that I have mentioned above came from a book sale in Birmingham and once upon a time belonged to the Bluecoat School, Harborne, Birmingham.
But, without further ado here is a taster of Christmas with Paddington and the Browns at number 32 Windsor Gardens:
‘Paddington found that Christmas took a long time to come. Each morning when he hurried downstairs he crossed the date off the calendar, but the more days he crossed off the farther away it seemed.’
Preparations for the festivities went on relatively smoothly except for an unfortunate incident with drawing pins and paper chains which ended with ‘Paddington hanging by his paws from the chandelier and Mr Brown dancing round the room rubbing his head’.
After an excellent Christmas dinner there was consternation all round when it appeared that Paddington had swallowed the sixpence in the pudding:
‘ ” Quick,” shouted Mr Brown, rising to the emergency. “Turn him upside down”.
Before Paddington could reply, he found himself hanging head downwards while Mr Brown and Mr Gruber took it in turns to shake him. The rest of the family stood round watching the floor.
“It’s no good,” said Mr Brown, after a while. “It must have gone too far”. He helped Mr Gruber lift Paddington into an armchair where he lay gasping for breath.’
If you want to know how it all ends you will have to read the whole story for yourself. Fortunately there is no danger of Paddington ever going out of print!
Illustration: by Peggy Fortnum taken from above edition.