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More than Marmalade: Michael Bond and the Story of Paddington Bear

Title: More Than Marmalade: Michael Bond and the Story of Paddington Bear

Author: Rosanne Tolin

Published: 3rd of March 2020 – Chicago Review Press

Format: Hardback – 130 pages

Hello Hello! How are you?

Today I’m bringing you a review for a lovely little book that I read for an author request. Rosanne reached out to me a few months ago and when reading the blurb and what she had to say about her book, I knew that I wanted to give it a go. I have always loved Paddington Bear – I’m actually more of a Winnie-The-Pooh fan, but that’s only because of my love of Eeeyore – but I definitely read and loved the Paddington stories growing up, and the films that came out a few years ago were absolutely delightful.

I was more than happy to read and review this book for Rosanne, it has taken me a little while to get to it, but I’m glad I was finally able to pick it up. Thank you very much to Rosanne for sending me a beautiful review copy in exchange for an honest review, and for being so patient with me. All opinions are my own. Keep on reading for my thoughts on this unique little book.


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 neighbourhood 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.


More Than Marmalade: Michael Bond and the Story of Paddington Bear by Rosanne Tolin is a middle grade nonfiction biography about the author and man behind Paddington Bear, how this lovely little bear came about and how important he was to Michael and the people around him.

I didn’t realise it was a middle grade biography until I started it, and I honestly found it to be such an interesting and insightful little book, it is a great idea to read this to kids, or to read it as an adult if you want to learn more about Michael Bond and Paddington Bear. I think we all know to some extent who Paddington is, and I had heard and associated the name Michael Bond with this story for a long time, but reading all about his childhood, the inspiration behind this bear, his life and how Paddington came to help him through tough times was lovely.

It isn’t a very long book, and it’s not a boring biography like some can be. I had a great time reading it, it was actually quite emotional at some points, yes I am a bit sentimental, especially about cuddly toys haha! I knew that it wouldn’t take me long to read it, but I made sure to take my time and really enjoy it. I loved the little anecdotes that Rosanne describes in this book about Michael’s childhood, his upbringing, his parents, how he enrolled in the war and went to fight in the army in Cairo during WWII, how he came back and eventually found a little abandoned bear on a shelf in Selfridges and his life changed.

I think that if you like the story of Paddington Bear, are a fan of the films, want to know more about a great man or just fancy a little something different, both for yourself and for young people you know, then this is a must-read book. I loved reading it and if anyone asks me for biography recommendations, this will be the first thing that pops into my head.


Overall, I loved this book. It’s a short little thing, but it’s packed with funny stories, some more emotional ones, some lovely messages and above all, the description of how a little bear changed one man’s life, along with the whole world, and the belief that if you keep trying, your dreams will come true.

I love Paddington and now will remember the stories with more fondness than I had because now I know the backstory and where he came from. I would definitely recommend all the Paddington books, the films, and now this little book, they are all wonderful stories and carry some very important messages. I gave this book 4.5 stars and thoroughly enjoyed it. I highly recommend it, and of course, you must buy a little plush Paddington to go with this story, and don’t forget the marmalade sandwich in your hat!

Thank you so much once again to Rosanne for reaching out to me, being so patient and sending me a copy of your book to review. It was such a lovely story, made me feel better during some hard times, put a smile on my face and even a few tears in my eyes! What a lovely story.

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this review, I do hope that you will pick it up one day, see you soon, stay safe,

Ellie xx

4.5-star rating


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.

If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK (affiliate link) – Amazon FR (affiliate link) – AbeBooks (affiliate link) – The Book Depository (affiliate link) – Amazon USBarnes and Noble


    1. It was so insightful and very lovely! I knew nothing about it either but it’s great to finally find out! Thank you Sarah! 🙂

  1. I don’t think i had heard of Paddington Bear until the movie came out. 🙈

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