Paddington in picture book version is illustrated by R.W. Alley, an American who has spent the last 15 years updating and creating new illustrations for Michael Bond's bear. Although the stories are set in London, Alley's illustrations strike me as cheerfully American when compared to Peggy Fortnum's expressionistic pen and ink illustrations for the chapter books. But I tend to be the crotchety type that prefers the original in most cases anyway. The Paddington picture books also employ a slightly less British tone in the text, making it a bit easier for American kids to keep up. Like Curious George, Paddington is an inquisitive creature with a gift for getting into trouble and a penchant for orange marmalade. The biggest difference is probably that Paddington talks while George doesn't.
And, like Curious George, one Paddington story is never enough, which is why I strongly suggest you invest a few extra dollars and purchase The Paddington Treasury, which has six stories.
Besides the original story in which Mr. and Mrs. Brown first meet the bear who has just arrived from Darkest Peru with only a suitcase and a hat (in the original book, he gets his super-cool duffel coat with toggles on a shopping trip to Barkridges) there are five other adventures. Paddington visits the palace, the zoo and the garden while also creating some fine art work and, of course, getting serious with some marmalade in a maze.
If you have kids, you probably know by now that this Christmas will see the release of a live action movie, co-written by Michael Bond, featuring (a non-talking?) Paddington Bear. From the trailer, it looks like they stay true to the story while adding in some high-level, anxiety inducing, fish-out-of-water action involving Paddington and his cultural missteps. For me, I'm sticking with the Paddington I remember from my childhood, as seen below.
For those of you who are curious about the star-studded cast of Brits in the upcoming movie, here's the official trailer...