Thursday, October 28, 2010

Edward Ardizzone

Big Bro has been getting into longer books with more writing and fewer pictures. This has opened up a whole new range of authors, including Edward Ardizzone, who I also enjoyed as a child- and still do.

Ardizzone wrote and illustrated many children's books including the Tim series, Diana and her Rhinoceros and Johnny the Clockmaker, all of which have been very popular with Big Bro. There is a "boys own" theme running through the books, of children-versus-adults, where the brave and spunky children are constantly held back by the majority of adults who think that the children are not up to the task at hand. Usually there is one adult who understands the capacities of children and allows them to enact their adventures in an adult world. In the Tim series, this is the boatman and the Captain, who let little Tim sail ships and defend lighthouses against wreckers; in Johnny the Clockmaker it is the blacksmith who is the only adult who believes Johnny really can make a grandfather clock, whilst in Diana and her Rhinoceros, it is the very pragmatic Diana versus the adult world as to whether a refugee rhino should live in the garden.

Ardizzone's illustrations are wonderful, and his sparing use of speech bubbles to accentuate certain actions or sentiments- like Tim's father responding to being woken up with "go away you horrid boy", or mundane comments from the mundane adults like "but is it wise?"- is very effective in bringing the pictures to life.

Ardizzone builds the same sort of exciting world as that in which the Famous Five and Hal and Roger live, where children who know no bounds, and it's completely appealing to children, young and old.

1 comment:

ANB said...

Had never heard of him but he sounds great - will add him to the list for our next library expedition!

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