Banbury school master writes children's novel set in his local play area

A retired school teacher has written a children's book designed to help young - and old - with life's difficulties.

By Roseanne Edwards
Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 4:55 pm
Author Philip Ridler with his new book
Author Philip Ridler with his new book

Philip Ridler has set his book, A Middle Garden Matter, in and around his garden and the local play area on the Cherwell Heights, Banbury estate.

Written for children aged eight to 12-years, its story is designed to allow readers to tune into the adventures of the pets, birds and animals.

"It can be read and enjoyed simply as a story. However there are deeper themes running through it such as leaving home, growing up, facing danger, being attacked, sustaining injury, enduring trauma, living with disability, helping others, developing friendships, being tempted, making mistakes, learning who to trust, experiencing death, knowing loss and falling in love," said Mr Ridler.

One of the illustrations in A Middle Garden Matter

The book's subtitle is Hobble and Trip - the names of the two central characters and it describes how they cope with life. Mr Ridler says the names are a methaphor for sufferers of physical, mental and emotional disorders.

"As such, it's suitable for all ages and should appeal to adults who have known some or all of these situations. It may be a useful tool in therapy sessions not least with children. Humour, cats, even bulldogs and birds appeal to most readers," said Mr Ridler.

The book is illustrated by the author.

"My drawings play an essential role in illustrating the story and bringing it to life for children. The stark black and white contrast of the illustrations, rather than colour, should appeal for a change."

The stories in A Middle Garden Matter have deeper meaning

Mr Ridler will be reading the book to pupils of William Morris School, Banbury in weekly installments from November through to the new year.

A Middle Garden Matter is available by order through Waterstones or from the publishers

Philip Ridler was born in Birmingham in 1945. He was brought up in Oxford from the age of two and now lives in Woodhall Road, Banbury.

Is is a retired school teacher having taught in Birmingham and Iceland. He has also undertaken Christian work in Iceland and has a degree in Icelandic.