When World War I broke out in 1914, Archie Albright was ten years old. He had just started his own, private scrapbook. As much diary as scrapbook, this book contains vignettes of his family and their life in London’s East End. Archie loves drawing cartoons and illustrates his scrapbook with his best mate, Tom. There are stories about his school. We meet his suffragette sister, Ethel, their mean grandmother, his older brother Ron, and the bane of Archie’s existence, his nine-month-old brother, Billy. There are letters pasted in from Archie’s Uncle Ted, who is in the army in France. Archie’s scrapbook continues through the end of the war and shows how the war touched Archie, and all children.
Ms. Williams has dedicated this book to “all other children touched by war.” Although written from Archie’s point of view, it is really for young adults or adults. With that in mind, this is a charming, delightful view of lower middle-class life and the unfailing strength that has sustained the English people through two devastating wars.