Dick King-Smith (1922 – 2011) was a prolific English author of children's books, mostly about animals. His single most famous book is The Sheep-Pig
, which was the basis of the film Babe
He also wrote a sequel to The Sheep-Pig
, which was not
the basis of the sequel to Babe
Another of his books was the basis of the film The Water Horse
. Harry's Mad
was the basis for a live action TV series, as was The Queen's Nose
(one of his few books not
about animals) and The Foxbusters
had an animated adaptation
His works provide examples of:
- Animal Jingoism: Principally between sheep and sheepdogs in The Sheep-Pig.
- Animal Talk: In many Dick King-Smith books, animals of different species can speak to each other (but usually not to humans). The Sheep-Pig is an obvious example. The Foxbusters, in which hens, foxes and rodents each speak distinct languages, is an exception.
- Cute but Cacophonic: The Guard Dog
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Fweddy from Harry's Mad.
- Have a Gay Old Time: It's certainly not his fault, but nowadays his name looks like a parody of a forum troll's handle.
- The term "bitch" was used a quite a bit in The Sheep-Pig. Not as the insult or general swear word that it's commonly used for today, but for its original synonym for a female dog.
- Heroic Albino: In The School Mouse
- The Highwayman: The Toby Man.
- His Name Really Is Barkeep: Farmer Farmer in The Fox Busters.
- Interspecies Adoption:
- The Sheep-Pig, in which a piglet is raised by a sheep-dog.
- Dragon Boy, in which an orphaned boy is taken in by a pair of dragons, uses the trope in a more fantastic way.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: In Ace the titular pig and his owner go on "That's The Way It Goes, with Hester Jantzen", a parody of the real-life programme That's Life hosted by Esther Rantzen.
- Once for Yes, Twice for No: Ace is about a pig named Ace who has the unique natural talent of understanding everything humans say, and works out a way of communicating with farmer Ted Tubbs by grunting once for "no" and twice for "yes." He briefly ponders expanding on it by devising specific meanings for three grunts, four grunts and so on, but ultimately decides this will get too complicated for them both.
- Polly Wants a Microphone: Madison the African Grey Parrot in Harry's Mad.
- Recycled In Space: The Fox Busters is The Dambusters but with animals.
- Stock Animal Diet: In Magnus Powermouse the pest control officer baits his trap with a chunk of Mars bar, and the narration notes that the stereotype of mice preferring cheese is wrong.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: In Smasher, the eponymous puppy asks whether his father was like this. His mother says yes, and that Smasher is going to be just like him. However Smasher is actually really ugly and described as looking like the offspring of the Hound of the Baskervilles.
- Theme Naming: Madison the parrot from Harry's Mad was so called because he was his original (American) owner's fourth parrot. "Washington died in his sleep, Adams caught pneumonia and Jefferson tangled with the cat."
- The Tooth Hurts: This plays a part in The Stray, since the main character has a fear of dentists but starts developing tooth pains partway through the book.
- Xenofiction: Sometimes his work falls into this, but it depends very much on the individual setting.
- Your Tomcat Is Pregnant:
- Fweddy the parrot in Harry's Mad.
- Tom (later renamed Tomboy) the cat from the Sophie series.
- Ugly Cute: Smasher is described as being incredibly ugly but the fact that the farmer finds him cute is the reason that he manages to avoid being sold and punished several times.