marmalade.jpgYou may know Paddington Bear from one of the many books featuring the iconic character or perhaps from two successful featured films (Paddington in 2014 and Paddington 2 in 2017). What will most likely be new to fans is the story behind the creator of Paddington Bear, Michael Bond.

Written for middle grade, the book is also perfect for adults, especially those of us who are writers. You will get to know Michael and the important events that shaped him as a person and author. Born in 1926 he loved locomotives and had a passion for reading. His parents were there to support him with trips to the library and story telling at home.

Biographies can turn into a droll telling of facts, but author Rosanne Tolin has done just the opposite, creating captivating, dialog filled scenes. The well researched book gives us a detailed account of Michael Bond as a boy, teen, and man discovering the world and how it works.

MORE THAN MARMALADE is more than I expected. I for one am glad to have spent time reading this new book covering the 91 years Michael lived.


Michael Bond never intended to be a children’s writer. Though an avid reader, he was by no means a model student and quit school at 14. He repaired rooftop radio transmitters during the bombing of Britain in World War II and later joined the army. He wrote about the war and more, selling stories here and there. 

One day, while searching for inspiration at his typewriter, hoping for a big story that would allow him to write full time, a stuffed bear on top of the shelf—a Christmas present for his wife—suddenly caught his eye. Bond poured his personal feelings about the events of his era—the refugee children his family had hosted in the countryside, a war-torn country in recovery, the bustling immigrant neighborhood where he lived—into the story of a little bear from Peru who tries very, very hard to do things right. The result was A Bear Called Paddington

An incredible true tale, More than Marmalade: Michael Bond and the Story of Paddington Bear is the first biography about the writer behind the beloved series. Author Rosanne Tolin reveals how world history, Bond’s life, and 1950s immigrant culture were embedded into Paddington’s creation, bringing middle-grade readers a delightful, informative, and engaging book with a timely message of acceptance.




  1. History comes alive, especially World War II and how it effected those living in England. Middle grade readers will be able to make parallels with our current world crisis and realize once you get past the negative, there is often a positive light.
  2. Writers often have to deal with rejection without ever knowing why. From getting a story idea to having it sold to a publisher are roadblocks Michael Bond faced. Advice from his grandfather kept him going.
  3. Black and white pictures of the time period are scattered across the pages, including the locomotive bearing Paddington’s name and a bronze statue in his honor at Paddington Station.
  4. The tough times Michael went through as a student then later on trying to balance his writing and family time are also part of the story. Life brings challenges to everyone.
  5. Although Michael Bond wrote other stories, the focus here is on Paddington. It’s the right approach as the bear was the inspiration and motivator for everything he did in life.

About the Author

An experienced and well-respected journalist, Rosanne Tolin is the creator and editor of the ALA award-winning children’s e-zine and website Imagination Café. Tolin is also the former managing editor of Guideposts for Kids magazine and the Guideposts for Kids website. She lives in Chesterton, Indiana.


This is now one of my  favorite biographies for young readers. Do you have one you like? Feel free to comment below.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, New Release and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Natalie Aguirre says:

    I’ve always enjoyed biographies and have been thinking that I wanted to try to read more middle grade and YA ones, because I used to love reading them. This one sounds fantastic because it is about a beloved writer. Thanks for sharing it this week.

  2. schmelzb says:

    Me, too, Natalie and Greg. Biography books used to be my favorites.


  3. Rosanne says:

    Greg, thank you so much for this great review–Michael Bond was really an amazing, somewhat enigmatic (although by all accounts kind and generous) person–and once I learned more about him and his inspirations, his story captivated me. I felt compelled to write it, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. I truly appreciate you “spreading the marmalade!”

  4. I haven’t read many biographies, but this sounds interesting. I confess I also have never read a Paddington book, but I did see the movies.

  5. This sounds excellent! I hope to read it soon. My students loved Paddington Bear as read-alouds, so I am familiar with Michael Bond’s captivating writing. Thanks for sharing this one for MMGM, Greg!

  6. Andrea Mack says:

    Oh, I’m excited to read this one! I remember some of Paddington Bear books my kids read!

  7. Biographies about little known people who’ve done extraordinary things, have become very popular in picture books. I would thoroughly enjoy this MG read about Michael Bond, because I know so little about him.

  8. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This sounds like a fascinating book about someone I don’t know much about! I’m especially intrigued by some of the aspects of being an author that this book covers. Thanks for spotlighting such a neat book!

  9. I just finished reading a biography and had kind of forgotten how much I enjoy them. This sounds like a wonderful biography. Thanks for telling me about this one.

  10. I love biographies; definitely putting this one on my list. Thanks, Greg!

  11. What! I love Paddington Bear!!! I need to read this book. (Um, local library, you need to open. Pleeaaaase!)

  12. This one sounds good. I always like how authors were inspired and learning about how their backgrounds shaped them and their writing.

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