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The Sheep Pig

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

This review was contributed by Stephen de la B

In Brief: How a piglet on a farm is trained as a sheep-‘dog’ and wins trials

Author: Dick King-Smith

Publisher: Penguin

Published in: 1983

Age Range: Children

Period: Contemporary

Genres:  AnimalFamilyFantasyFriendshipHumorousShort


Characters:

  • Babe, the plucky sheep-pig who challenges the prejudices of the other farm animals
  • Mr and Mrs Hogget, a good and hardworking farmer and wife
  • Fly, the black and white collie who acts as a surrogate mother to Babe
  • Ma, a decrepit old ewe

Synopsis:

Babe, a piglet, is won by the farmer in the village show, and is adopted by the farm's sheepdog Fly. Babe wants to follow his “mother” and learns the working practices of a sheepdog, circumventing his lack of speed by being especially polite to the sheep who do whatever he asks. He also foils a gang of rustlers and chases of some dogs. The farmer eventually takes him to the national sheepdog trials.

Notes:

The story is fast-moving, with the characters strongly delineated in ways that are typical of species. The humanisation of the animals fits in well with the story, although the thought remains that it would have been so easy for Babe to end up a couple of hams instead of Sheepdog Trials champion! Throughout the story there are humorous touches to liven it … the sheeps’ referral of dogs as ‘wolves’! No wonder this story made a very good and well-known film.

Themes:

  • Life on a farm
  • The pastoral landscape
  • The way in which the author has achieved a child’s picture of a farm

Monday 6th April 2015