I set aside my friend Paddington Bear for a year before returning to him this week when I picked up one I had not yet read.

"Paddington Takes the Air" is another charming collection of stories about the anthropomorphic bear who means well but always inadvertently causes trouble. In this book, he enters several competitions for which he is unsuited but at which he miraculously does well.

He enters a horse-riding contest and enters the ring with a professional wrestler. The final two stories tell of Paddington's invitation to a ball, his attempts to find the proper clothes and his dance contest at the event.

In other stories, the bear takes a trip to the dentist, attempts to mend the clothes of his neighbor, and attempts to solve a crime as an amateur detective.

Paddington was born in darkest Peru but now lives with the Brown family in London. His stories continue to bring a smile to my face.