"I started out as a solder, and I wasn't a terribly good soldier, then I became a farmer and, when that packed in, I tried my hand at being a traveling salesman. This went on until at last I found something I was good at--when in doubt, try again!"- Dick King-Smith
"Guardian Award runner-up, 1981, for Daggie Dogfoot; American Library Association Notable Book citations, 1982, for Pigs Might Fly, 1985, for Babe: The Gallant Pig, and 1987, for Harry's Mad; Guardian Award, 1984, for The Sheep-Pig; Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book, and Parents' Choice Award for Literature, both 1985, both for Babe: The Gallant Pig; Children's Author of the Year, British Book Awards, 1991; Reading Magic Award, Parenting magazine, 1995, for Harriet's Hare; honorary doctorate from University of Gloucestershire, 2004."
Babe: The Gallant Pig
Summary- The story begins at the Hogget Farm when Mrs. Hogget hears a terrible noise coming from the town’s Fair, which turns out to be our main character, the pig. Farmer Hogget wins the pig, Babe, in a weight guessing game and takes him home. At first, Mrs. Hogget only thinks of their new friend as future food until Babe starts earning his keep through a series of exciting events on the farm. At the end of the story, Farmer Hogget has Babe compete in a sheep herding contest and sure enough, Babe wins, concluding the story with, “That’ll do,” from Farmer Hogget.
Evaluation- This novel is a wonderful animal fantasy children’s book for ages 7+. It contains illustrations by Maggie Kneen, depicting scenes from the story in simple black and white, yet very detailed images of Mr. and Mrs. Hogget, Babe and the other animals on the farm. The story is set in England between the 1930’s-1950’s. Recommendation- I highly recommend this book for children 7+ years of age. Major Theme- unlikely friendships
Three Terrible Trins
Summary- This story revolves around Mrs. Gray, a recently widowed mother mouse and her triplet sons, Thomas, Richard and Henry Gray who live in an old farm house at Orchard Farm that is divided amongst a mouse hierarchy. The story follows Mrs. Gray as she raises her mice to be brave, strong and stick together in hopes of preventing similar violent deaths that of her previous husbands. In the process the mice have to find ways to get rid of two house cats and avoid all the mouse traps the grumpy farmer sets out. The Trins (triplets) unite the divided hierarchy of mice clans through games of soccer with the farmer’s glass eye, find their mother a new husband and improve the farmer’s attitude by the end of the book, leaving everyone a lot happier. Evaluation- This children’s book is full of excitement and adventure, appropriate for ages 7-12. It includes illustrations by Mark Teague that are simple sketches that do a great job of depicting the characters of the story that give the reader a visual sense of the crazy things that go on in the story.
Recommendation- I recommend this book to middle school and young adults seeking a fun story. The major theme shown throughout the novel seems to be how to overcome differences that separate one another.
Summary- Harry Holdsworth, a young boy with a wild imagination, inherits his uncle’s very intelligent African Grey Parrot, Madison. Harry is disappointed at first after expecting something more, since it was his uncle’s “most cherished possession,” but after learning of the bird’s excellent linguistic skills, he gains a new friend to play games with, help him with his homework, and keep the dog and cat in line like never before. One day, however, Madison is kidnapped by a burglar and has to figure out a way to get back to Harry. Madison then goes through a series of events trying to get back to Harry, creating anticipation, excitement and whole lot of turn of events. Evaluation- This is a great animal fantasy book for children in grades 3-5. Pictures in the book are done by artist, Jill Bennett, and just like King Dick-Smith’s other novels, are simple sketches that portray the characters perfectly to give the reader visual representations of all the different events that take place.
Recommendation- This book was intriguing. It had me on my toes the whole time and I loved how the story ended. I recommend this book to any child or young adult with a good imagination or sense of adventure. Major Theme- I think the main theme of this book is not to judge a book by its cover, or judge your circumstances too soon.
The School Mouse
Summary- This is a fun book about a little mouse, named Flora, who becomes the first-ever school mouse. The story starts off with scenes of Flora’s birth and moves to showing her curiosity and eagerness to learn in a kindergarten classroom. Flora learns to read, but is doubted by her family, mainly her mother, until an exterminator comes and sets out rat poison. Flora is the only one who can read the label and warns everyone not to eat them. No one listens to Flora, thinking she’s crazy. Only her family agrees to “wait and see,” and are the only ones saved. Her family leaves, while Flora stays behind at the school alone until a new friend arrives and her family shows up a little later through unfortunate events. Flora winds up becoming a teacher to her fellow mice and all is well. Evaluation- This is a great animal fantasy children’s book that follows a mouse through her unusual passion for education. The content is appropriate for children ages 7-10 and contains illustrations by Cynthia Fisher that complement the stories characters and plot very well. Recommendation- I recommend this book to both eager and reluctant readers because everyone can relate to Flora's quest to become educated in some form or fashion. Major Theme- Follow your dreams and keep persevering even when others doubt you.
Summary- This picture book demonstrates the love the author has for puppies and follows the families adventures with all different kinds of puppies they've had with explanations of all the mischief they can get into, how wonderful puppies are and how to take care of them. Evaluation- This is a great picture book, perfect for children ages 4-8. It includes colorful, cartoon like illustrations of the family and all the fantastic puppies you can imagine in the story. Recommended for anyone who loves puppies, anyone who may want a puppy of their own one day and children ages 4-8. Major Theme- Puppies and all the love and responsibility that comes with them
A list of some of the authors novels:
Dick King-Smith passed away on the 4th day of January, 2011 at 88 years of age " at his home in Keynsham, England. He wrote more than 130 children's books, mostly about animals, which have sold fifteen million copies worldwide and been translated into twelve languages."