Bibliophile's delight in Addingham

Just spent a delightful day in Addingham, in Wharfedale, West Yorkshire. Addingham is quiet near to us and we often go to The Fleece Inn for lunch during a walk to Bolton Abbey.
However, we have never really explored the village so after lunch we took a walk up the main street and discovered a real retail gem at the TP Children’s Bookshop where we met the delightful Lou Harrison.
The bookshop is a delight for bibliophiles – especially those who retain a fondness for the books they read as a children – and Lou is a fund of knowledge on the authors and the books themselves. She’s not just a collector, she’s a reader too.
And we spent a happy half hour in conversation whilst browsing the shelves collectible copies of Enid Blyton, Rosemary Sutcliff, BB, Captain WE Johns, Richmal Crompton... the list goes on.
My wife, Annie, was particularly charmed with the girls literature - of which I know nothing - and she and Lou had a long conversation about books I’ve never encountered. These included The Abbey Girls series, The Susan Books by Jane Shaw and Rosemary Sutcliff’s Queen Elizabeth.
I was particularly pleased to find a copy of BB’s Little Grey Men – a book which charmed me as a child - and which I bought on the spot. Suffering from mild dyslexia as a child I didn’t learn to read or write until was about nine and I think it was BB that got me started.
BB was a prolific and successful writer and illustrator of children's books, his crowning achievement being The Little Grey Men, the story of the adventures of the last four gnomes in England, which won the prestigious Carnegie Medal in 1942.
The seeds of the idea for The Little Grey Men were sown when, as a small child, BB saw 'a diminutive being. It had a round, very red, bearded face about the size of a small crab apple. It wasn't a dream I can still see the little red astonished face.'
In later years, as a child alone (he was sickly and educated at home) BB explored the countryside around his home and created a mind set of the adventures of the gnomes, Dodder, Baldmoney, Cloudberry and Sneezewort and their life along the Folly Brook.
In 1944, Brendon Chase, a stirring tale of three runaway schoolboys living in a forest, like Robin Hood and his merry men, confirmed BB as an established writer of children's fiction.
In 1946, Down the Bright Stream, the follow-up to The Little Grey Men appeared, and in the same year, BB's Fairy Book: Meeting Hill. This book relates the magical experiences of two children, Peter and Johanna, and contains extracts from classic fairy stories, It also includes 15 exquisite colour plates by BB's alter ego Denys Watkins-Pitchford.
Anyway, if you’re ever in Addingham check out the TP Children’s Bookshop and give our regards to Lou.

No comments: