The driver's test mistakenly administered to Bond's endearing bear at the start of this new Paddington book almost does in the examiner--and readers too, if their sides are prone to splitting. In other episodes Paddington grapples with a hammock, locks neighbor Mr. Curry in Mr. Brown's steaming sauna, and tries to hold a pose as an art students' model. The book ends conventionally at a Christmas pantomime, just as the separate chapters all end conventionally with fond assurances of everyone's love for Paddington. But no one else could so upend the act of the stage magician, who saws Paddington in half between acts. As usual, much of the action stems from Paddington's punny confusion about English usage: when the stately home tour host runs out of beef Wellington, you know whose boots make a surprise appearance on the dinner plates. If American readers know about Wellingtons from familiarity with Paddington himself, they might well be puzzled by his use of mushrooms to mend imposing Mr. Curry's ruffled shirt. But they're sure to bear with Paddington as he tries the British decorum of everyone from the Browns and their no-nonsense housekeeper to the stately-home tourists who mistake him for Queen Elizabeth I.