With his iconic blue coat and love of marmalade sandwiches, Paddington might well be the most British of literary bears – despite being a refugee from deepest, darkest Peru.
The late Michael Bond’s beloved character first appeared in 1958 but this bumbling bear with a heart of gold and his message of tolerance still feels relevant today, especially in the wake of the Windrush scandal.
To mark his 60th birthday, HarperCollins Children’s is publishing Paddington at St Paul’s, a new picture book and the final one written by Michael before his death in June 2017.
The story sees Paddington pay a special visit to the cathedral with Mr Gruber only to get mistaken for a choir bear.
It was inspired by the author’s involvement in the National Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s 90th birthday, which was held at Sir Christopher Wren’s famous building.
In a rather poignant twist, St Paul’s was the location of the memorial service to Michael himself.
The beautiful book has illustrations by R.W. Alley, who has been bringing Paddington’s adventures to life for the last 21 years.
It is published on 31 May 2018 and will launch six months of anniversary celebrations around the country. Find out more at paddington.com
Paddington at St Paul’s by Michael Bond, illustrated by R.W. Alley. £12.99 (hardback), HarperCollins Children’s