Books by Dick King-Smith

CLEVER DUCK by Dick King-Smith
Released: Oct. 1, 2008

"Bruel's black-and-white drawings highlight the animals' mischievous antics, though it is the hilarious and pretentious boar leader, 'Firingclose General Lord Nicholas of Winningshot,' who epitomizes the fun in this farm frenzy. (Fantasy. 7-10)"
Damaris the duck lives up to her eponymous epithet in this barnyard adventure, which features, in addition to this resourceful fowl, her canine friend and the farm's supercilious swine. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2008

"An appealing animal adventure for those ready to graduate from early readers. (Fantasy. 7-10)"
The Robinson family and their neighbor, Mr. Brown, all mice, live under the kitchen floor under the constant threat of the house cat. Read full book review >
THE TWIN GIANTS by Dick King-Smith
Released: June 1, 2008

"Recent early-reader graduates with a taste for the tongue-in-cheek will enjoy this amiable episode. (Fantasy. 8-10)"
Two bachelor giants set out in search of wives in this droll and handsomely presented offering. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2008

"That's about it for plot, but the names are so silly, and Bruel does such a masterful job of depicting the blobby cast (in spots the gombrizils look like proto-Simpsons) that early-reader graduates can't help but break out in giggles. (Fantasy. 7-9)"
Another short, cozy animal (to use the term loosely) tale from the master of same. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2008

"The addition of multi-syllabic dinosaur names and Latinate vocabulary words add extra appeal. (Fantasy. 8-10)"
Replacing his usual stock of farm animals with an older, more primitive cast, King-Smith pits families of Pterodactyls and Apatosaurs against a predatory T. rex. Read full book review >
HAIRY HEZEKIAH by Dick King-Smith
Released: Aug. 1, 2007

"Still, this low-key comedy will please newly independent readers. (Fantasy. 8-10)"
Another amiable animal ramble from King-Smith—this one featuring a lonely Bactrian camel who breaks out of a Somerset zoo to look for a pal. Read full book review >
THE CATLADY by Dick King-Smith
Released: Jan. 10, 2006

"King-Smith fans won't find this a cuddly animal tale: The cats don't speak human language and the dependence of the story on the belief of reincarnation may provoke questions that adults are uncomfortable answering. (Fiction 7-10)"
To the few cat stories in King-Smith's stable, this latest poses a new dimension and meaning to the term "nine lives." Read full book review >
THE GOLDEN GOOSE by Dick King-Smith
Released: March 8, 2005

"Aside from a fox's brief and fatal walk-on, there isn't much tension in the plot, but readers in search of farmyard tales featuring naturalistically rendered animals, good-hearted humans, hints of magic and, for good measure, a whiff of metaphor, will come away happy. (Fiction. 9-11)"
A failing farmer's fortune changes when Joy, literally, comes into his life. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

"Infused with sentiment that never boils over into sentimentality, this should be popular with recent Easy Reader grads. (Fiction. 7-9)"
A bold, young cat uses up his fund of lives at a great rate in this appealingly presented animal tale. Read full book review >
CLEVER LOLLIPOP by Dick King-Smith
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

"Another fine choice for chapter-book readers. (Fiction. 7-10)"
Princess Penelope and her pig Lollipop are learning to read. Read full book review >
TITUS RULES! by Dick King-Smith
Released: Jan. 14, 2003

"A near-miss. (Fiction. 9-11)"
King-Smith's (Chewing the Cud, p. 1312, etc.) animal tales usually leap over the Atlantic with ease, but not this time. Read full book review >
CHEWING THE CUD by Dick King-Smith
Released: Oct. 8, 2002

A memoir from a beloved chronicler of the barnyard reveals a vast experience with his subject matter, and a huge capacity for self-deprecation. Read full book review >
LADY LOLLIPOP by Dick King-Smith
Released: June 1, 2001

"Move over, Wilbur. (Fiction. 8-10)"
The author of Babe, the Gallant Pig (1985) offers another winner with this tale of a bright pig and her canny young keeper "training" a spoiled princess. Read full book review >
BILLY THE BIRD by Dick King-Smith
Released: May 1, 2001

"The format of short chapters, large type size, and interspersed full-paged illustrations is suited to readers moving into chapter books, but there isn't really enough action or humor here for most kids. (Fiction. 8-10)"
King-Smith's (The Roundhill, 2000, etc.) reliable fantasies usually focus on an animal with a special talent: a green mouse, an alien rabbit, and of course, that famously chatty, sheep-herding pig. Read full book review >
GEORGE SPEAKS by Dick King-Smith
Released: April 1, 2001

"Good choice. (Fiction. 9-11)"
This literary equivalent of the Look Who's Talking films, originally published in 1988, sees its first American edition. Read full book review >
FUNNY FRANK by Dick King-Smith
Released: March 1, 2001

"Still, it is a story about a chicken in a wetsuit, as only King-Smith could conceive. (Fiction. 8-10)"
A misfit chick achieves his heart's desire only to outgrow it, in King-Smith's (Lady Lollipop, 2001, etc.) latest barnyard charmer. Read full book review >
THE ROUNDHILL by Dick King-Smith
Released: Nov. 1, 2000

"Aside from its literary pleasures, this perfect little jewel of a tale will prompt readers to think about the places that are special in their own lives. (Fiction. 10-13)"
A solitary teenager discovers some distinguished company sharing his private place in this beguilingly matter-of-fact ghost story. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2000

"The climactic bits give shape to the story, but it hardly needs it: with a donkey to ride, plenty of playful dogs and cats, and a neverending supply of chips and cookies, Maggie makes a neighbor almost any child would love to have. (Fiction. 10-12)"
The author of Spider Sparrow (2000) again looks to society's margins, chronicling the growth of an unlikely friendship between a seedy, solitary septuagenarian and a newly arrived young family. Read full book review >
SPIDER SPARROW by Dick King-Smith
Released: March 1, 1999

"The love story is delightfully satisfying. (Fiction. 10-12)"
Charlie Muffin, a mouse farmer, taxidermist, and tinkerer, finds his calm, orderly existence in turmoil when Merry Day, a high-spirited, determined young lady, challenges him to breed a green mouse. Read full book review >
GODHANGER by Dick King-Smith
Released: Feb. 1, 1999

"Rendered with detail and drama reminiscent of Audubon's, Davidson's accomplished black-and-white wildlife portraits ennoble their animal subjects, and effectively capture the dark, tone of this radical change of pace from a popular, author. (Fiction. 11-13)"
Fans of King-Smith's light, wry animal stories (The Spotty Pig, 1997, etc.) will be shocked by this brutal Christian allegory. Read full book review >
THE WATER HORSE by Dick King-Smith
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

"King-Smith's obvious belief in the power of care and compassion informs this genial tale told from both the human and sea monster's perspectives; it's not one of his strongest stories, but will capture the fancies of his many fans. (Fiction. 8-11)"
Searching for treasure washed up by a fierce coastal storm, eight-year-old Kirstie discovers a strange looking package-shaped object with long tendrils poking out from each of its four corners. Read full book review >
MARTIN'S MICE by Jez Alborough
Released: Feb. 9, 1998

"A lively read-aloud, studded with chuckles and surprises."
Another beguiling farmyard drama from the author, most recently, of The Fox-Busters (p. 1605/C-213). Read full book review >
PUPPY LOVE by Dick King-Smith
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

"This tender guide is educational, humorous, and irresistible—like puppies. (Picture book. 4-8)"
The pair that collaborated on I Love Guinea Pigs (1995) teams up again on a universally appealing subject, rendered quite personal by King-Smith. Read full book review >
THE SPOTTY PIG by Dick King-Smith
Released: April 21, 1997

"Unfortunately, this take on the old Ugly Duckling story is without much suspense: Once Penny appears, Peter's journey to self- acceptance simply stops. (Picture book. 3-6)"
From King-Smith (The Stray, 1996, etc.), the story of a spotty pig, Peter, who thinks his spots are ugly and says so to his friend, Joe, a cat. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"It's classified as animal anecdotes, but don't bury it in the 590s with assignment material. (Nonfiction. 5- 10)"
In 31 anecdotes about animals he has known, King-Smith (The Stray, p. 1237, etc.) once again proves his worth as a born storyteller. Read full book review >
JENIUS by Dick King-Smith
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"532, etc.) is not up to his best. (Fiction. 7-9)"
In a book subtitled "The Amazing Guinea Pig," Judy is determined to show everyone that guinea pigs aren't lacking in brain power. Read full book review >
THE STRAY by Dick King-Smith
Released: Aug. 1, 1996

"In the well-known breezy style readers have come to expect, the author pens with wit and wisdom a sunny story of family and friendship in which good things come to Good people. (Fiction. 7-11)"
King-Smith (see review, above) leaves behind guinea pigs of all manner, pigs who herd sheep, and cats with pets to tell the story of a stray—not a mongrel, but a kindly, 75-year-old woman named Henrietta Hickathrift. Read full book review >
SOPHIE'S LUCKY by Dick King-Smith
Released: May 1, 1996

"In spite of these quibbles, this is enjoyable reading; Sophie is well on her way to living happily ever after. (Fiction. 5-9)"
Sophie (Sophie in the Saddle, 1994, etc.) is back again, in what is to be the last in the series. Read full book review >
MR. POTTER'S PET by Dick King-Smith
Released: April 15, 1996

"With Teague's humorous black-and-white illustrations, this is an endearing book from beginning to end, for classroom or family sharing. (Fiction. 7-10)"
In a short, simple chapter book, King-Smith (The School Mouse, 1995, etc.) tells the blissfully silly story of poor Mr. Potter who, after his parents are accidentally poisoned by a dinner of tinned crab on his 50th birthday, gets his first pet. Read full book review >
THE SCHOOL MOUSE by Dick King-Smith
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"Fisher's pointed black-and-white illustrations are perfectly pitched to the sharp text. (Fiction. 7-10)"
As usual, King-Smith (Harriet's Hare, 1995, etc.) gives readers a children's book that's everything it should be. Read full book review >
HARRIET'S HARE by Dick King-Smith
Released: April 3, 1995

"But if there is less action in this than in some of his more recent titles, the cover makes it clear that this is aimed at more thoughtful readers, who will enjoy it immensely. (Fiction. 7-10)"
King-Smith's whimsical fantasy gets a science fiction twist in this story of a friendship between a girl and a vacationing extraterrestrial in the role usually assigned to a fairy godmother. Read full book review >
I LOVE GUINEA PIGS by Dick King-Smith
Released: March 1, 1995

"Useful for any collection or on any shelf near fellow guinea-pig lovers. (Picture book. 4+)"
Another sure-to-be-popular addition to the "Read and Wonder" series of nonfiction picture books, for which this author and illustrator created All Pigs Are Beautiful (1993). Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 3, 1994

"A lively comic adventure. (Fiction. 8-12)"
King-Smith (Sophie in the Saddle, 1994, etc.) parodies human behavior in another of his animal fantasies. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1994

"Does multiculturalism extend only to those who don't share our mother tongue) But even second-best Sophie is better-than-average young reader fare, and Parkins's frequent drawings continue to be witty and precise. (Fiction. 5- 9)"
King-Smith's "determined" Sophie, who first appeared, at four, in Sophie's Snail (1989), has always been a winning character; such vicissitudes as a suburban domicile, obstreperous twin brothers, and her parents' proscriptions against pets (mellowing more with each book) have never diverted her from her goal of becoming a "lady farmer." Read full book review >
THE INVISIBLE DOG by Dick King-Smith
Released: May 3, 1993

"A minor effort from this reliable author, but told in his usual refreshingly brisk style and set forth in attractive, easy- looking format. (Young reader. 7-10)"
When Janie finds the leash and collar that belonged to Rupert—a paragon of a dog who died five years ago when she was two—her parents make it clear that they're not about to replace him: only another Great Dane would do, and they're far too expensive. Read full book review >
LADY DAISY by Dick King-Smith
Released: April 1, 1993

"A surprising subject for King-Smith—no farms, no animals- -but enjoyable. (Fiction. 8-12)"
When the Victorian doll Ned finds in Gran's attic speaks to him, it's the beginning of an unusual friendship. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1993

"Entertaining and genuinely informative: the best yet in the uneven new 'Read and Wonder' series. (Picture book. 4+)"
Allowing that his favorite was fierce-looking Monty, a 600- pound "large white" who had ten "wives" and was a "pushover" who loved to have his head scratched, the author of Babe, the Gallant Pig (1985) ruminates companionably about the habits and characters of pigs. Read full book review >
THE CUCKOO CHILD by Dick King-Smith
Released: March 1, 1993

"Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 7-11)"
King-Smith's latest is no surprise—yet another tale of an animal on a British farm, informed by keen insight into animal behavior and leavened with just enough fantasy to allow the animals to converse—but it is, predictably, delightful. Read full book review >
THE ANIMAL PARADE by Dick King-Smith
Released: Oct. 21, 1992

"A pleasant introduction to the diversity of styles—from whimsical to heroic—represented by this subject. (Anthology. 7-10)"
A Collection of Stories and Poems, as well as several excerpts—e.g., from White Fang, Black Beauty, and the editor's own novels. Read full book review >
ALPHABEASTS by Dick King-Smith
Released: Sept. 30, 1992

"Splendid fun. (Poetry/Picture book. 6+)"
An author of popular animal fantasies proves that he's as witty a poet as he is a storyteller—here, prefacing 26 comical verse portraits with four somewhat more sober quatrains recalling species that have "shot their bolt and had their chips/And run their course and breathed their last." Read full book review >
PRETTY POLLY by Dick King-Smith
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

"Illustrations not seen; unfortunately, the jacket art is rather wooden in style and differs in detail from the text. (Fiction. 5-11)"
A parrot is too expensive, so Abby decides to teach one of the farmyard hens to talk. Read full book review >
SOPHIE'S TOM by Dick King-Smith
Released: Aug. 1, 1992

"The language has suffered more Americanization than Sophie's Snail, detracting from the pleasant British flavor; on the other hand, Parkins's amusing cross-hatched drawings, nicely blending humor and deft characterizations, are superior. (Fiction. 5-10)"
The delightfully determined small person introduced in Sophie's Snail (1989) celebrates her fifth birthday on Christmas Day; honoring her plan to become a "lady farmer," her parents and twin brothers give her a splendid toy farm, but her live pets are still limited to the wood lice, slugs, earthworms, and so on she keeps in the potting shed. Read full book review >
PADDY'S POT OF GOLD by Dick King-Smith
Released: March 1, 1992

"Warm, imaginative, and (again) grounded in the author's good sense and real knowledge of field and farm. (Fiction. 6-11)"
When Brigid espies a leprechaun, it's due to a lucky combination of circumstances: she's an only child celebrating her eighth birthday—and she also has a hole in her boot. Read full book review >
THE TOBY MAN by Dick King-Smith
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

"Glossary of 18th-century terms (a toby man is 'a robber who holds up travelers on the road'). (Fiction. 7-12)"
Like Lindgren's Ronia, the Robber's Daughter (1983), young Tod Golightly comes "from a long line of robbers." Read full book review >
THE JENIUS by Dick King-Smith
Released: July 15, 1990

"Firmin's attractive full-color illustrations strike a good balance between realism and caricature."
After Judy's class teases her about the limited potential of her favorite pets—guinea pigs—Judy discovers that her elderly pair has given birth to one with special talents. Read full book review >
SOPHIE'S SNAIL by Dick King-Smith
Released: Oct. 1, 1989

"Perfect as a readaloud."
Six stories about a remarkably self-possessed four-year-old and her family. Read full book review >
THE FOX BUSTERS by Dick King-Smith
Released: Nov. 1, 1988

"A swell read-aloud."
Another wonderful animal story from the author of Babe, the Gallant Pig and Harry's Mad. Read full book review >
CUCKOOBUSH FARM by Dick King-Smith
Released: Aug. 15, 1988

Round the year at yet another farm, with the usual series of blossoms, harvests and babies; this time the journey is distinguished by King-Smith's careful structure and nicely cadenced prose, and by the airy, stylized illustrations that Japanese-born Kazuko has done for her first book. Read full book review >
HARRY'S MAD by Dick King-Smith
Released: Jan. 21, 1987

"This would be great to read aloud."
Harry Holdsworth, nine, inherits a 40-year-old parrot from a great-uncle who was a professor of linguistics across the ocean in New York. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1984

"A disquieting hint, in a way—so vigorously and unexpectedly do the animal world and the human world mingle in this first."
To country mouse Madeleine and Oxford-bred Marcus Aurelius there is born a giant, ravenous baby, whom they wisely/learnedly name Magnus. Read full book review >
THE MOUSE BUTCHER by Dick King-Smith
Released: May 24, 1982

"With church cat Ecclesiastes' large family filling out the hunting party, and with the outlaw monster cat Great Mog for lurking danger and final confrontation, it's nimble and less forced than the pig story—more like an elegant English trifle, for those with a taste for writing as per-formance."
Another clever, archly playful animal story from the very British author of If Pigs Could Fly (p. 419, J-87). Read full book review >
PIGS MIGHT FLY by Mary Rayner
Released: April 1, 1982

"But anyone charmed enough by the initial fancy to stick with it will indeed be delighted by the ultimate, unexpected fulfillment of the title's promise."
This British story of a special pig begins with sow Mrs. Barleylove giving birth to eight piglets-one of them a "dag" (runt?) who is also deformed, with odd doglike feet instead of normal trotters. Read full book review >

"This fantasy has that appeal; and though the humor here is less pungent than in Martin's Mice (1989), King-Smith's fans are sure to enjoy Ace's adventures."
Like his ancestor, Babe, the Gallant Pig (1985), who distinguished himself as a champion herder of sheep, Ace is a persistent achiever. Read full book review >