Roger Pilkington wrote six books for children during the period 1955-63.As a veteran cruiser and writer on European waterways its not surprising that he set all of his children's adventure stories on the continental waterways. Don John's Ducats dates from 1960 and The Eisenbart Mystery from 1963.
The other children's books are - Jans Treasure (1955), The Chesterfield Gold (1957), The Missing Panel (1958) and The Dahlias Cargo (1959).
With these six books to his credit, this author must I think qualify for the title of the most prolific of all children's canal book authors up to this time. Indeed he may well qualify for this title as an adult canal book writer as he wrote over twenty books on his voyages along the inland waterways of Europe ranging as he did from Sweden to the South of France during four decades. His first book Thames Waters (1955) described voyages on the river and his battle to navigate the Kennet & Avon canal long before restoration.
Two of Roger Pilkington's European books.
One of the earliest books from the 1960's period - Nesta Nuttal's book was published in 1962. It has little to do with boats or waterways and more to do with archaeology and I include it only because unusually it is set on a river other than the Thames.
Nut Case by Ray Pope was published in 1962.
Also published in 1962, established author Mary Cockett's book was aimed at 8 -11 year olds and Mitchell Dawson’s The Queen of Trent for the same age group.
With an average of a book a year being published - 1965's contribution was The Narrow Boats by Jane & Keith Dadds.
Emma Smith is well known as one of the 'Idle Women' war time recruits to the Grand Union Canal boat scheme and as the author of 'Maidens Trip' - an account based on her canal carrying experiences. Like Susan Woollfitt (another recruit to the scheme) she also wrote a book for younger readers with a canal theme which was published in 1966.
With an increasing number of people hiring boats and experiencing the delights that a canal holiday can offer, we find throughout the 1960 - 80 period an increasing awareness and interest in the life,lore and history of the 'cut'.
This interest is reflected in children's books of the period in the increased amount of canal and boat detail and knowledge shown by these children's authors.Some of them lived on boats and knew members of the working boat population.Beatrice Lawrence for instance acknowledges the help she received from working boatman Tom Humphries.
Curlew on the Cut 1968.
Award winning author Helen Cresswell produced The Barge Children in 1968. One of the periods top children's authors with over 100 books to her credit she also produced items for television.
S C George followed in established author Roger Pilkington’s footsteps with his story for young children set on the waterways of the Continent .Barge Boy is unusual in this respect
To follow - See Children's Canal Books In England Part 9 - Books of the 1970's.