About The Author
Michael Woodward was born in 1940 at Merton Hospital, Wimbledon and first lived in Raynes Park. His earliest memories are of playing with his Aunt Tina's saucepans in her kitchen cupboard.
During the Second World War, Michael and his mother moved to Loughton to escape the Blitz, where he has memories of being taken from his bedroom at the front of the house to the air raid shelter at the end of the garden when the air raid sirens sounded.
Expelled from his first school on his first day for continuous crying, he progressed through various infant schools before reaching Staples Road Primary School, where he was made head boy in his final year. Living close to the forest he and his family spent many happy hours climbing the trees, walking to distant ponds and hiding deep inside bushes.
These woods had all the elements needed to be adventurous - he could climb trees, splash through streams and explore an old Roman Camp with mounds and ditches. Boarding school put him close to Knighton Woods, where he could again enjoy the trees - this time in an abandoned private garden with an ornamental lake, forest glades and particularly huge rhododendron bushes with enormous hidden chambers inside.
It was here that the stories of Peter and Paula Pixie and their friends came to life.
Michael died suddenly on 17 September 2019 as he was excitedly preparing for his first book launch with wife Paula and daughter Ruth, who encouraged him to put pen to paper. Whilst he may be gone, his stories will live on. 'Peter Pixie Visits the Rescue Centre' is his debut book in a series he has written. Stay tuned for his next book in the series, that will be co-authored by his daughter Ruth!
About the Illustrator
Alison Lingley, illustrator of Peter and Paula Pixie’s adventures, was born in Derbyshire. When young she drew on any flat surface – appropriate or not – from the moment she could wield a pencil. At school she supplemented her pocket money by painting record sleeves on leather jackets and by drawing and circulating a comic called “Gerbil Weekly.” Yes - she does still have a few copies to prove it! It featured a cast of gerbil characters and and made fun of the school and staff. This venture taught her the terror of looming deadlines and the peril of satire getting into the wrong hands! She spent a lot of her early working life at a succession of riding stables and boarding kennels. A bit unconventional for a cartoonist/illustrator, but it helped with the development of animal and creature illustrations, of which farm yard creatures and dogs are her speciality.
The birth of Peter & Paula Pixie
From the author, Michael J Woodward:
'Peter Pixie was born in stories to my children from 1975. We lived beside Knighton Woods, a part of Epping Forest, which included abandoned grounds of country house deserted in the 1930’s. As a child, I had attended the local boarding school and exploring these woods was one of my weekend pastimes. The woods were full of huge rhododendron bushes with cavernous interiors, ideal for a child’s “den” and included an ornamental lake, numerous tree types and many glades.
At weekends we went on family walks through these woods and put our ears to the trees to hear the sounds of Pixie activity within. We found toadstool villages on rotting tree trunks and watched dragonflies darting across the small ponds.
It was a natural progression for me to tell stories of Peter Pixie, his sister Paula and his best friend Jonathan to my own children at bedtime. As the children grew up, the stories became long forgotten, but have recently been resurrected in stories told to my grandsons on their visits from Australia. It is wholly due to the efforts of my younger daughter Ruth that I have been persuaded to write the stories she remembers from her early childhood.
I hope these stories will encourage you as the reader to use your imagination whilst reading these stories and that they will spark the imagination and creativity of all those that hear the stories.'
Believe. Inspire. Create.