THE last Paddington Bear book written by Michael Bond is being published.
The English author, who penned more than 150 books, died in June, aged 91, following a short illness.
He was inspired to write Paddington At St Paul’s, a picture book, after getting involved in the National Service of Thanksgiving to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday.
His Reflection On The Passing Of The Years was read at the service in St Paul’s Cathedral by Sir David Attenborough, who, like Bond, was born in the same year as the Queen.
In Paddington At St Paul’s, chaos ensues when the bear is mistaken for a choirboy during a visit to the London landmark.
The announcement of the new book was made days before a memorial service is due to take place for the author at the cathedral.
Bond’s daughter, Karen Jankel, said: “If the outpouring of wonderful messages of condolence we received from my father’s fans is anything to go by, there will be many people who will be delighted to learn there is another Paddington book to look forward to.
“Our family feel immensely proud that we will be honouring his life at St Paul’s Cathedral and the fact that this is the setting for his final story makes it very special indeed.”
HarperCollins Children’s Books executive publisher Ann-Janine Murtagh said: “We are deeply honoured to be publishing the final Paddington story from our most cherished author, Michael Bond.
“Paddington At St Paul’s is Michael’s parting gift to all his fans – a simply classic Paddington story, brimming with curiosity, charm and affectionate exuberance.”
She added: “It is illustrated by Bob Alley, who worked closely with Bond for many years and, in a beautiful serendipity, is set in St Paul’s Cathedral where we will be celebrating Michael’s life and works next week.”
Bond became a beloved giant of children’s literature after his first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was published in 1958, about the bear from Peru who loves marmalade.