Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain

Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain
Written and illustrated by Edward Ardizzone
Scholastic Book Services, 1968

This charming book is written about a boy named Little Tim who wants to be sailor. According to the story, Little Tim lived by the sea and spent his time on the beach playing on the boats. His friend, the old boatman, taught him about ships, the sea and how to make sailors knots. Sometimes Little Tim would visit his old friend, Captain McFee, who would tell him about his voyages and sometimes give him a sip of his grog. (Gotta love that) "Sometimes Tim would astonish his parents by saying, "That's a Cunarder" or "Look at that barquentine on the port bow." (guffaw) When Little Tim asks his parents if he can be a sailor, they tell him he is too young and must wait many years until he is grown up. So the plot is cast. 

This must have been a popular book in it's day and I can see why it became a series, as it's full of adventure. There are entertaining bits in the book that unfortunately, could not be printed today. Bits like a child playing in boats on the beach, sharing some grog with the captain, taking a boat ride without your parents permission. A memorable part in the book: after the ship hits a rock and is sinking, Little Tim (who was forgotten) and the Captain (who stayed with his ship) - tells Tim  "Come, stop crying and be a brave boy. We are bound for Davey Jone's locker, and tears won't help us now." 

Not familar with Edward Ardizzone (1905 - 1979), I was pleased to find a nice website about him with much information. (Click here) Ardizzone was considered a English artist though his parents were Italian and Scottish and he was born in France. But Ardizzone grew up in England and his work represented English life. In his work you see his day-to-day world, people chatting on the street, quiet evenings in the pub, families enjoying a day out at the seaside or the fair and art school scenes. It is stated that Ardizzone drew constantly and from his biography it appears that he did right up until his death.

Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain was done at the prodding of Ardizzone's son, Philip, who must have been around five years old when the book was originally published in 1936. It was the first of a series of 'Tim' books. I like Ardizzone's loose sketchy style. It looks like he worked in pen and ink and watercolor. Of interest, my Scholastic edition states there was a second edition in 1955, that was completely redrawn with additional text.  Ardizzone also wrote a book for his daughter, Christianna, which she requested, called Lucy Brown. He published many books over the course of his career, which you can see on the Edward Ardizzone website. Below is a list of the Little Tim Books.

The Little Tim Books


  1. I enjoyed reading these books when I was young, cheers Marie

  2. Can anyone tell me if these books follow a particular order?