"A bear? On Paddington station?' Mrs Brown looked at her husband in amazement. 'Don't be silly, Henry. There can't be!'
But, of course, there is.
A Bear Called Paddington was the first long book I ever came across. Miss Wheeler read it to us in Year Three, and I just loved it. A Bear Called Paddington was very funny, and it had simply marvellous pictures by Peggy Fortnum, but even more importantly it showed a small person making his determined, baffled way in a very odd grown-up world.
And grown ups are quite worryingly odd. I mean, you must have noticed that yourself. (Though many of the grown ups in Paddington are full of a comforting kindness, too.)
Note to anybody planning to make a film version. Paddington is young and has a small, clear voice. He's not a growly bear.
Word to use today: amazement. This is a very old word: people have been amazed in England for ages. It means surprised, of course, but there's a hint of too surprised to move about the word, too.
Amazement may come from the Norwegian local word masa, which means to worry, pester or fall into a doze, or from the same word in Swedish, where it means to sun oneself.
As you can see, the not-moving has been part of the word for as long as we can go back, though the surprise hasn't!