He was seven. I was a librarian. I brought home Sarah and Simon and No Red Paint. We became enamored with the stories and the art of Edward Ardizzone.
The plight of the hard working and deserving artist (semi-autobiographical? Who knows?), the kind, well-behaved and selfless children - a brother and sister who do not fight! - and the gruff uncle who sees the error of his ways - all the makings of a Victorian melodrama are found in a book published in 1965.
Most of Ardizzone's books follow this template. His Tim and Ginger books always cast Tim as the hero, although he is often misunderstood. Ginger falls prey to foolishness and sometimes cowardice. Still, he manages to redeem himself with an act of bravery, kindness, cleverness or all three! There is nothing but the very best kind of honor among Ardizzone's heroes - honesty, humility and respect.
There is also a ridiculous amount of independence and an unbelievable amount of quick-thinking and heroism. That's the third H! Honesty, humility and heroism!
If you look at the body of Ardizzone's work, he illustrated the work of a great many fine children's authors and other authors as well, Dylan Thomas and Charles Dickens among them.
Ardizzone won the very first Kate Greenaway prize in 1956, the British equivalent of the Caldecott Medal, for his book Tim All Alone.