The Young Ardizzone

The Young Ardizzone, by Edward Ardizzone

I shall now dip my toes back into book blogging with a delightful little volume -- Edward Ardizzone's memoir of his younger years.  I grew up on Ardizzone illustrations, what with Little Tim picture books* and The Little Bookroom.  When Lori mentioned this volume in her post about Slightly Foxed Editions, it promptly went on my wishlist...but they're only available in the UK.  Happily, my mom went on a trip to London in June (she accompanied my brother and his family, and thus saw a lot of Harry Potter attractions!) and she went armed with instructions to hunt down a couple of these.

Edward Ardizzone was actually born in what is now Vietnam, in Hai Phong.  His father was Italian and French, and his mother British, and Ardizzone says they were each very good people, but totally unsuited to each other, and so they frequently lived apart.  His mother took them to England when he was five, and they lived a somewhat unsettled existence -- sometimes with their grandmother, and moving every so often -- probably much like many other middle-class colonial families of the time.

Ardizzone was known as Ted, and he candidly says that he was the kind of boy who was an obvious target for bullies.  Teachers did not like him and school was frequently a torment, or at best no fun at all.  Nevertheless, many other things were good, and he writes about childhood in Edwardian England in wonderful detail.  He has adventures with his siblings, cousins and best friend, exploring the docks and surrounding countryside.

Naturally, the book is profusely illustrated!  They really bring the little stories and vignettes to life.

I couldn't help but love this memoir.  I feel lucky that I was able to get hold of a copy!

*I have collected some Little Tim books, but not all of them.  So if you know which one is the one where the first mate spends the whole time moaning "Doooom!" from his cabin, please let me know because I can't find it.


  1. So glad you got a hold of this, and liked it! I wish they would also publish the Ernest Shepard memoirs.

  2. Oh, that would be great! I did also get the Rosemary Sutcliff memoir, which I'm looking forward to. I read a lot of her books when I was 11+.

  3. The Rosemary Sutcliff is also wonderful. I'm even more amazed by what she accomplished in her writing considering her physical limitations.

  4. A memoir by an illustrator seems like such a visual and historical treat.


Post a Comment

I'd love to know what you think, so please comment!

Popular posts from this blog

Dewey Readathon post

The Four Ages of Poetry

Howl's Moving Castle