"Please look after this bear. Thank you."
It’s the end of an era in children’s literature. Michael Bond, the creator of one of the world’s most-loved characters, Paddington bear, died at home on Tuesday following a short illness, HarperCollins announced on Facebook. He was 91 years old.
Bond's first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was published in 1958. It was then that the fictional Brown family found him sitting at a train station with only a suitcase and a note that read: “Please look after this bear. Thank you.” Like his family, children all over made it their duty to look after the globe-trotting brown bear with a taste for marmalade.
Bond never stopped working, and released his final Paddington book, Paddington's Finest Hour (the 27th in the series), this year. According to The New York Times, his books have sold more than 35 million copies worldwide and have been translated into at least 40 languages.
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"He was a true gentleman, a bon viveur, the most entertaining company and the most enchanting of writers," Ann-Janine Murtagh, Executive Publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books, said in a statement. "He will be forever remembered for his creation of the iconic Paddington, with his duffle coat and wellington boots, which touched my own heart as a child and will live on in the hearts of future generations."
We’ll be eating a marmalade sandwich (or two) in your honor today Mr. Bond.