Saturday, 12 March 2011
The man who invented "Babe"!!
Dick King-Smith wrote the book "The Sheep Pig" from which came the children's film "Babe". He wrote over 100 others, and all of those in the second half of his life; for first he was a farmer - not a good one, but a farmer who loved being a farmer. He married young, and produced three children, but most of this book is taken up with stories of the animals that lived (and died) on his farm, not all of them farm animals. A succession of well-loved dogs are here, and a succession too, of cheaply purchased milk cows, who gave milk, although not a lot; cows that stamped on his feet, kicked him, and shat on him. Chicken that gave eggs and were eaten by foxes. Badgers who lived in the woods, and pigs that shared with woods with them. When he eventually lost the second farm (he was no business man!) he took the decision to train as a teacher, and for the latter part of his working life taught in a local school, and wrote in the holidays. He also had a short, but enjoyable career on children's television. His first book was turned down twice, but eventually accepted by the publishing firm Victor Gollantz who published several, but he wrote so many that he was published by various houses. What a lovely man! He died earlier this year at 91, having lived a life full of very small adventures, many of which are described in this short, delightful book. Look out for little line illustrations throughout by Harry Horse, who is a children's book illustrator - they are delightful too. I read huge chunks of this out loud to Mr Mac because they were so funny - as descriptions of animals getting the upper hand often are.