Read part one of a full summary of The Classic Adventures of Paddington by Michael Bond right here! This page is full of spoilers, so beware. If you are wondering what happened in The Classic Adventures of Paddington, then you are in the right place!
Special thanks to Sarina Byron, a BSR contributor who wrote this great recap! Sarina is a British Author and Contributing Writer living in California. Sarina enjoys bringing forth a different perspective and encouraging a different way of thinking through her writing. Visit her blog to read her reviews, and check the end of the review for a link to her Instagram.
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***** Everything below is a SPOILER *****
What happened in The Classic Adventures of Paddington?
Paddington met the Brown family, and we met them all in the first collection of stories called A Bear Called Paddington. Paddington was sitting on his suitcase with a label around his neck which read “Please Look After This Bear.” When Mr. and Mrs. Brown approached to ask if they could help him, he told them he had just arrived from Darkest Peru where his Aunt Lucy had gone to the home for retired bears. She knew London to be full of fantastic people, so she put him on a boat to London, hoping someone would look after him. After a short conversation, the Browns invited him to stay with them.
Paddington came to be called by this name when he said his Peruvian name may be difficult for people to pronounce. A quick bite to eat followed by the arrival of Judy’s train saw them all head back to number thirty-two Windsor gardens, which would be Paddington’s new home. At number thirty-two, Paddington met Mrs. Bird, the Browns housekeeper, who knew a lot about bears from Darkest Peru. His long journey and bun accident at the station buffet merited a bath, during which Paddington ended up flooding the entire bathroom. Mercifully, Judy helped him mop up all the water and got him ready to come downstairs for a snack and to tell them about himself.
Paddington never made it to the story though as he fell asleep immediately after his tea and toast. Mrs. Brown and Judy took him shopping at Barkridges the next day but since “things are always happening to him,” Paddington got lost in the tube station and caused a lot of alarm by pressing the emergency button on the escalator before being re-united with them. At Barkridges, Paddington was fitted out with a duffel coat, a raincoat, and a new hat.
Now that he was all settled in, the Browns took Paddington to the theatre, where he took the story too literally and went backstage during the break to confront the renowned actor Sir Sealy about throwing his daughter out. In the process, he was asked to fill in for the missing prompt. The next adventure the Browns took him on was to the seaside, where Paddington got his first set of beach gear: a hat, floats, a bucket, and a spade. Whilst making a sandcastle for a competition at the beach, Paddington dozed off and got carried out to sea. Some fishermen brought him back, and he was made a hero of by the spectators.
Since no one knew when Paddington’s real birthday was and as bears have two birthdays a year, the Browns threw him a surprise party to which Paddington invited Mr. Gruber, his friend from Portobello Market whom he met every morning for their Elevenses. He tried to put on a magic show for all the guests, but having not read the instructions properly, he ended up smashing Mr. Curry, the next door neighbour’s, watch. Mr. Curry tried to say that Paddington had destroyed his 25 years old watch, but Mrs. Bird pointed out the lie in that statement, and the party broke up after that.
Notable Quote: “That’s the trouble with being small, no one expects you to want things.”
More About Paddington starts with the story of Paddington trying to take a family portrait with a camera he had purchased. The picture he took may not have been perfect, but the photographer who was approached to develop the plate was extremely excited to chance upon a rare old camera such as Paddington’s. In exchange for displaying the camera in his shop window for a week with Paddington’s name listed as the owner, he offered to print their plate and take another picture for them in his studio.
As Paddington had been with them a while, Mr. Brown planned to decorate Paddington’s room, but as with all his decorating projects, he was taking his time about it, so Paddington decided to lend him a hand. He definitely got some painting and wallpapering done but ended up painting over the windows and sealing the door. He was rescued by the Browns when they returned from the wedding and Mrs. Bird helped him clean up all the paint stuck to his fur.
Paddington then turned detective with a disguise he had bought and decided to find out who stole Mr. Brown’s prize marrow. The disguise didn’t do much to conceal his identity, but he overheard the builder Mr. Briggs and his team speak of a chilled marrow, which made them all suspects. On a sleuthing mission at midnight, Paddington was found by policemen to whom he related his reasons for sneaking into the building site. When the Browns found out what Paddington was up to, Mrs. Brown admitted she had accidentally cut Mr. Brown’s marrow and cooked it.
In this collection, we also see Paddington experience his very first Guy Fawkes Day. It all started when he saw a number of very confusing signs and had a mysterious request from Jonathan to collect leaves. Mr. Gruber explained to him that Guy Fawkes Day is to commemorate a failed plot to blow up the British Parliament and that neighbours contribute towards fireworks when someone makes a ‘Guy’ and then get together to watch the display. Paddington hurriedly made a Guy and collected enough to buy a large selection of fireworks. When they all met to burn the Guy and light the fireworks, they realised the Guy was wearing Mr. Curry’s suit, which he had placed on the Browns’ porch for their dry cleaner to pick up along with their clothes.
The morning after Guy Fawkes Day, Paddington work up to his first snowfall. Jonathan, Judy, and Paddington decided to make a snowman, which everyone admired. They all thought it looked extremely realistic, and it was a considerable amount of time before they realised it was Paddington covered in snow. The family doctor recommended that he confine himself to the bed until he was better. All the tradesmen from Portobello Market and even Mr. Curry brought him small gifts. He recovered in a few days, and the first thing he did upon waking was eat a marmalade sandwich.
As soon as he had fully recovered, he went Christmas shopping with Mrs. Brown to Crumbold and Ferns. He found a diamond pin whilst stuck in the revolving doors, which turned out to belong to Sir Gresholm Gibbs. He took Mrs. Brown and Paddington to see the Christmas lights in his car to express his gratitude.
Christmas came around soon after that, and Paddington helped Mr. Brown put up the lights. Paddington hurt himself and Mr. Brown by balancing a pin on Mr. Brown’s head. At Christmas dinner, Mr. Gruber joined them all when Paddington mentioned a bone in his pudding. Without further ado, everyone shook him as they assumed he ate the lucky penny before he could explain that he had not ingested it. That night he personalised the new scrapbook Mr. Gruber had given him but couldn’t write much as he was exhausted.
Notable Quote:” A problem shared is a problem halved.”
Paddington Helps Out starts with the story of Paddington’s first picnic on the river. When they got to the river, Paddington fell into the water as he was helping push the boat onto the river. The marmalade sandwich in his hat attracted a fish, and he became the first to catch a fish on the trip!
Soon after that, one morning over Elevenses, Mr. Gruber invited him along to an auction he was going to. There wasn’t enough time to explain the auction business to Paddington beforehand, and Paddington ended up overbidding or underbidding for a couple of items. When a preserves stand, which he really wanted, appeared, he was the first to bid, but being Paddington, he started very low. Since his bids had been extraordinary, everyone assumed he had inside information on the products, and no one tried to bid against him for the preserves stand. He won that and gifted it to Mrs. Bird.
A few days after the auction, when Paddington was still reeling from the excitement of it, Mr. Gruber gave him the carpentry set they had bought at the auction. Paddington was trying to build a magazine shelf for Mr. Brown when Mr. Curry promised him the use of his kitchen table if he built him a magazine shelf in return. Whilst making the magazine shelf, Paddington ended up sawing the kitchen table in half. Although he could glue it back together, the table was wobbly. To fix that, he kept cutting each of the legs shorter until the entire table was shorter than him. He finished the magazine shelves and, on Mrs Bird’s advice, gifted Mr. Curry the carpentry set to make up for the loss of his kitchen table.
Next, Paddington visited the Cinema with the Browns, where Sir Reginald Clove pulled out of playing the organ during the break. Since this disappointed Mr. Brown, he went looking for Mr. Clove, who ended up recruiting Paddington to play with him. Everyone agreed that they enjoyed the organ performance much more than the movie.
Paddington was a caring bear, and he proved it when Mr. and Mrs. Brown took ill whilst Mrs. Bird, Jonathan, and Judy were away. Paddington hurriedly finished his morning shopping at Portobello Market and left Mr. Gruber a note that he wouldn’t be able to join him for their Elevenses. He fed Mr. and Mrs. Brown too many marmalade sandwiches before attempting to make soup with dumplings for them. The dumpling was so big that the lid flew off the pot, but thankfully that’s just when Mr. Gruber walked in and helped him make smaller dumplings and clean up.
Paddington continued to help out whilst Mrs. Bird was away. He missed getting all the laundry on the porch in time for the laundry pick-up, so he put all the clothes in a wheelbarrow and went down to the laundromat Mr. Gruber had told him about. He had never used a washing machine before and ended up opening the machine whilst the load was still washing, as he thought the clothes had disappeared, thus flooding the entire laundromat in the process. The lady from the laundromat helped him finish the load, including that of Mr, Curry’s, who was so pleased with his jumpers fitting better that he left Paddington a toffee.
Just like that, it was Paddington’s one-year anniversary with the Browns. They decided to celebrate in style at the Porchester. The head waiter was dubious of Paddington as he wasn’t dressed in an evening suit, and when Paddington ordered marmalade sandwiches and custard, threw his finger bowl water at Mr. Gruber’s omelette flambée, and got an onion stuck in the saxophone, the head waiter asked him to leave. The Browns said they would leave, too, if Paddington had to, and so did Sir Huntley Martin, who had been watching Paddington throughout the evening. As Sir Huntley was a valued customer, Paddington was made to feel welcome again, and the entire family enjoyed a lavish dinner with Sir Huntley, who invited Paddington to visit his marmalade factory.
Notable Quote: “Paddington often found that shocks came in twos.”
Paddington Abroad sees the entire Brown family head to France for a holiday. Before they left, Paddington was made in charge of the itinerary, which Mr. Gruber helped him with by fitting him out with several books. He stopped on the way home to practise some words and was mistaken for an onion-selling French bear!
The next step was to get his money out of Flloyd’s Bank, where he was shocked to know that he had only accrued 10 pence in interest and even more shocked when he was handed a different 5 pound note than the one he had handed in. He was very upset by the turn of events, and when he tried to call Mrs. Bird, his paw got stuck in the 9, and he ended up calling all the emergency services as the British emergency number is 999. Mrs. Brown happened to come by the bank and found Paddington sitting in the middle of the bank with an angry crowd around him talking about how the bank stole from the young bear.
Despite all the excitement in the preparations, the Brown family somehow made it to the airport, where they panicked when they realised they had neglected to check whether Paddington had a passport. The police overheard them and headed over to the suspicious bear carrying a disguise and making notes about the planes. All ended well as Paddington did indeed have a passport that Aunt Lucy had sent him with in the secret compartment of his suitcase.
Once in France, the Browns got lost whilst driving and decided to have a picnic when the car punctured. To make the event exciting, Mr. Brown offered a prize to whichever of the children came up with the best feast. Paddington got carried away and went to the top of the hill, where he saw a town square and ran down to it. He bought some snails, which won everyone’s approval, but as soon as everyone found out that Paddington had acquired them at a “value,” they panicked. They needn’t have, though, as just then the people from the town of St. Castille came to them to help the Browns. They had understood the car to be a “show truck” as Paddington’s dictionary didn’t have a word for car.
The Browns decided to change their itinerary and stay on in St. Castille. Whilst there, Paddington enjoyed his first Pardon festival. Having woken up to the entire town looking ready for a celebration, Paddington rushed to Monsieur Dupont, the baker with whom he was friends, to understand what all the fuss was about. Monsieur Dupont explained that Brittany celebrated Pardons for fishermen, farmers, birds, and even horses. He rushed back to tell the Browns all about it, and they all headed out to enjoy the festivities.
Paddington tried the roundabout, the fortune-teller whom he wasn’t too impressed with, and filled in for a sick drummer in the band. However, he did not realise when the marching band turned around, and he ended up marching all the way to the other end of town, where he tripped and fell over a pothole. He kept drumming until everyone found him, and they all enjoyed the fireworks together afterwards.
Whilst on holiday, the Browns went fishing with Admiral Grundy, an English Admiral living in St. Castille. As they started the trip, Paddington ended up being hauled up on the sail as he bent to pick up a rope to tighten his oilskins. When they arrived at the island they were heading to, everyone was so excited that no one moored the boat. Before they could start sending signals for help, Admiral Grundy wanted to pitch their tent in and enlisted Paddington’s help with that. Paddington ended up fastening the tent around Admiral Grundy trapping him inside. As they all tried to free the Admiral, the townspeople from St. Castille showed up as they had seen a white cloth signal for help and then saw the boat adrift, confirming that the party needed help. Admiral Grundy was pleased with the outcome and rewarded Paddington with a cup of ship’s cocoa.
As luck would have it, the Tour de France was coming through St. Castille that week, and Paddington decided he would be a part of it. He borrowed a bicycle and fitted it up in preparation. On the day of the event, the Browns were surprised to see him amongst the cyclists. As they all headed uphill, Paddington struggled to keep up, but as they went downhill, his brakes failed, and he ended up leading the group. He was awarded a medal for his performance, and Admiral Grundy was exceedingly proud of him. Paddington couldn’t wait to get back and tell Mr Gruber all about it.
Notable Quote “If things didn’t end, we shouldn’t have other things to look forward to.”
Paddington At Large opens with Paddington nurturing a beautiful garden, where he planted flowers and vegetables. Mrs Bird paid him market rate for his vegetables. One morning, impressed by his crop, Mr. Curry offered him 5 pence to pick the apples in his garden and saw a certain branch. He also offered him an additional 5 pence if he mowed his lawn. Paddington managed the branch easily but somehow ended up with the lawn mower in the tree.
When he tried to use Mr. Brown’s lawn mower, it ran away with Paddington clutching on for dear life. He went down Queen’s Highway towards Portobello Market, where it stopped, but not before a policeman spotted him. Mr. Gruber hid Paddington in the bargain basket whilst he spoke to the policeman. The policeman gave Paddington a chance to escape by telling Mr. Gruber that he will be back and by then the bargain basket must be gone. Mr. Gruber then wheeled Paddington home whilst he ate his emergency marmalade sandwich.
Soon after the lawn mower disaster, Mr. Gruber offered to take Paddington, Jonathan, and Judy to the park. At the park, they spotted the Queen’s Guards about to put on a performance. They all promptly bought tickets and settled themselves in to enjoy the rare spectacle. During the performance, Paddington heard of the Unfinished Symphony by Schubert, which displeased him greatly, so he went looking for Schubert to finish the symphony. He ended up getting trapped in the bandstand and came out through the stage instead of the Conductor. The Conductor was furious, but since Mr. Gruber got the crowd clapping, the Conductor didn’t mind any more at all.
Back at number thirty-two one afternoon, Paddington was alone and dozing, only to be woken up by the sound of strange goings-on. He crept downstairs to see a rope disappear on the window and a man stealthily walk on the landing. He ran and brought the policeman with him, who found out that the man in the house had come to fix the television. After he had set it up, Paddington sat down to watch tele but grew bored very soon. He started fidgeting with the knobs and managed to make the picture disappear, so he opened the back of the tele and put his face inside. The Browns came home to see Paddington through the tele, and they rushed and called the tele man back to fix it. He promptly told Paddington never to touch the inside of a television again.
Now that the television had arrived, the Browns spent almost every evening in front of it. One such evening, they saw Paddington and Mr. Gruber appear on a show where Paddington contested for sums of money for each question he answered. His answers were wrong, but his perspective was unique and impressed the crowd. He won 500 pounds of which he kept a little and donated the rest to the home for retired bears in Darkest Peru so they could have marmalade more often than once a week.
Soon after that, Paddington decided to make toffee as all the ingredients were already in the pantry. In the process, he caused the entire kitchen to steam up in a way that the doors were sealed. He was rescued by Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Bird, who found him doubled over on the floor in pain. They rushed him to see the doctor in emergency, and the surgeon Sir Mortimer Carroway attended to him. Turns out Paddington’s pain was owing to the toffee stuck to his fur, which wouldn’t allow him to straighten out. His fur was shaved to deal with the problem, and he went home feeling just fine.
And just like that, it was time for Christmas shopping again. Paddington accompanied Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Bird to Barkridges. He went down to the Bargain Basement, where a number of demonstrations of products were in progress. The stain removal product demonstrator mistook Paddington’s hat for a rag, so he moved on swiftly to the next demonstration, which was of a pancake pan. The demonstrator enlisted Paddington’s help, and somehow all the batter ended up on the people gathered around. Paddington swiftly made himself scarce when the manager came looking for him. But then it turned out that due to the batter being cleaned up by the stain removal product and the non-stick ability of the pan, their sales of those two products had soared. To express the store’s gratitude, the manager assigned an assistant to follow Paddington around and help him shop.
Just before Christmas, Paddington was approached by Mr. Harold Price to help out with the neighbourhood pantomime. Everything in the pantomime was going to plan, but in the second half, Paddington pushed Mr. Price’s prop papers onto the stage. Somehow Mr. Price’s candle came too close to his beard in the process, setting it alight. Paddington rushed onto the stage and yanked it off, revealing Mr. Price’s identity and giving away the end. Mr. Price despaired as a judge for the pantomimes was in the crowd, but the unusual ending won Mr. Price the prize for the best play for the season.
Notable Quote: “Careful with money isn’t the same as being mean.”
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