Generations of children have enjoyed the ‘Little Tim’ books since 1936. Edward Ardizzone illustrated over 170 books in his time and has been awarded many children’s literature prizes such as the Kate Greenaway Medal for “Tim all alone” in 1956.

Now in an appealing reprint, loyal to the original edition, comes with an audio version for easy listening.

Little Tim wants to be a sailor but of course, his parents say he is too young. But then an opportunity presents itself, and Tim stows away on a steamer.

While at sea Tim finds the hard work of scrubbing the floors almost too much and longs for the comforts of home.

As a child I often dreamt of stowing away on board a ship, and this is part of the appeal of the book. Children have a natural desire to run errands (if the errand is suitably exotic and appealing to them!) and this is so in the range of tasks Tim is allowed to perform at sea – helping to steer the boat, doing all sorts of odd jobs and helping the cook.

The drama of the story is wonderful – what will Tim do when the boat hits the rocks and he is forgotten by the rescue crew?

Read this book with your child or have them read alone, if you both don’t mind a bit of a politically incorrect story with one or two references to ideas no longer appearing in children’s books such as ‘the captain’s grog’ and ‘Davy Jones’ locker’.

A former children’s librarian, Jane Fagan is now a full-time wife and mother of two.