More Than Marmalade: Michael Bond and the Story of Paddington Bear | Dedicated Review
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The Children’s Book Review | April 21, 2020
Written by Rosanne Tolin
Age Range: 8-12
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Chicago Review Press (March 3, 2020)
What to expect: Creative Non-Fiction, Biography, History, and World War II
Children’s book author and journalist Rosanne Tolin takes readers on a fascinating journey through renowned author Michael Bond’s life, from childhood to adulthood, detailing the clear and undeniable path that led to the creation of the beloved Paddington Bear stories. This creative non-fiction piece has broad appeal: history buffs, Paddington Bear devotees, and aspiring writers will all find inspiration in this riveting biography.
Raised with the belief that you can do anything, so long as you keep trying, Michael Bond lived in a humble home with his caring parents. While his school experience was mediocre, his parents fostered his love of reading with regular visits to the library and reading aloud at bedtime. Bond’s experiences during World War II—such as witnessing young Jewish refugees arriving at England’s train stations wearing identification tags around their necks—shaped him and led him to find the voice of Paddington. As an adult, his childhood wish for refugee children to find safe homes makes its way into the story of Paddington.
More Than Marmalade is a remarkable story founded on research from valid sources (a lengthy bibliography included). In her Author’s Note, Rosanne Tolin provides instant depth to this accurate tale by acknowledging the impactful and relatable aspect of Paddington Bear, an immigrant, coming to England to search for a better life. Beyond being a noteworthy biography for non-fiction fans, there are many takeaways at the core of this chapter book, such as acceptance, kindness, empathy, perseverance, and the idea that sharing one’s grief with others may indeed help you to feel better.
Any child that loves a true story is bound to enjoy this first-ever biography of Michael Bond and how the iconic Paddington Bear came to be—highly recommended.
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About the Author
Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, Rosanne Tolin is a wife, mother of four, avid runner and author. While studying law abroad in London, she subsisted mainly on a diet of tea and toast, and frequented Paddington Station. An experienced and well-respected journalist, she has focused her work primarily on children’s publications. She was the former creator and editor of an ALA notable children’s website, managing editor of Guideposts for Kids magazine, and a Hoosier State Press Award-winning features writer. When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dogs in the Indiana Dunes National Park.
MORE THAN MARMALADE: Michael Bond and the Story of Paddington Bear, is her book debut.
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