Hello and happy Thursday. I’m very excited to bring you this review because I think it can be the start of something fun in this blog. Basically, for reasons that I might explain in another post, I will be reading and reviewing books for young readers. By this, I mean even younger than middle grade, which is an age category I don’t tend to ever read. I want these reviews to be useful for adults who are in some way responsible for a child’s reading process, so I’ll be giving my input both as a reader and as a teacher.
Today I want to start with probably the cutest discovery of the year for me: A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond. I read this book between July 1st and July 4th, 2019 and gave it four stars. As a Colombian, I did not grow up with the figure of Paddington, and I actually only heard about him a few years ago when the movie was released. I have yet to watch the movie, but I expect to love it.
Paddington is a bear who got adopted by the Brown family and who makes an adventure out of every activity, no matter how mundane. I think his books are a great addition to an elementary classroom because the stories are very simple and they are about a family’s everyday life. Besides the tiny little detail of having a bear who talks, reads, writes, and wears proper human clothes, the story is pretty relatable. I would recommend it for children who are dealing with a new sibling or who are trying to understand the process of adoption or being moved to a new family.
The book is divided by chapters but really every chapter is a separate story. You might want to start with chapter one, though, because that one is the story of how the Browns found Paddington and how he got his name. Other than that, you don’t need to read the other chapters in any particular order. I think these stories could be great for a read-aloud, especially for kids who might deem picture books as too simple for them. This is also great for independent reading because it has the most adorable illustrations.
One thing I will say is that you must keep in mind that this book was written over sixty years ago. There is no language that could be considered offensive nowadays, but on two occasions I did notice the use of the words “policeman” and “fireman.” That’s antiquated, in my opinion, and I always use gender-neutral language with my students. Other than that, I found the books to be pretty harmless for young readers.
Have you read A Bear Called Paddington? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below.
Love, Miss Camila