Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain
Edward Ardizzone ~ Oxford University Press, 1936
Just wanted to let you guys know I'll be East Coast bound in a few hours, so my next book post won't be until Tuesday. (Though I might check in here and there with a book related photo or two.) That said, as we are headed to Bar Harbor, Maine, I thought a good seaworthy story was in order to celebrate. Oh, how I love a children's book featuring real life dread and bravery. Imagine a time before TV and distractions when a young boy might have been completely wrapped up in a tale like this and taken away completely by the thrill of it. I have to believe Tim is exactly who little boys who are honorable and true of heart want to be. You see, little Tim very much wanted to be a sailor...
The Captain would tell him about his voyages and sometimes give him a sip of his grog, which made Tim want to be a sailor more than ever. But alas for Tim's hopes. When he asked his mother and father if he could be a sailor, they laughed and said he was much too young, and must wait for years and years until he was grown up. This made Tim very sad.
The story that follows is one that would put hair on even a toddler's chest. Tim eventually stows away in a steamer ship and becomes a cabin boy in trade until one day the ship hits a rock and...
Tim crept on to the bridge where he found the captain, who had refused to leave his ship. "Hullo, my lad," said the captain. "Come, stop crying and be a brave boy. We are bound for Davy Jones's locker and tears won't help us now."
So Tim dried his eyes and tried not to be too frightened. He felt he would not mind going anywhere with the captain, even to Davy Jones's locker. They stood hand in hand and waited for the end.
Spectacular watercolor and ink drawings illustrate the drama, alternating between full color and black and white. The emotion and beauty are felt in the pictures with just a few strokes of ink and a dash of solemn color, truly taking the reader back in time to when boys were only an adventure away from becoming men. Over the span of more than 30 years, Mr. Ardizzone wrote and illustrated a number of books about Tim, this one (a library sale find) being the first in the series and the only one I've actually read. To be sure, they've all been added to my wish list.