BOOK REVIEWS

Puffin Modern Classics the Sheep-pig Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-09-05 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:0141333367
LANGUAGE:English

"Besides having adorable characters that my children liked to hear about, I was impressed by the message. Not the superficial "you can be whatever you want to be," that superficial readers might think King-Smith is teaching. The true miracle in this story is not the pig learning to be a sheep dog, but the the hidden power of courtesy and politeness. With an ironic nudge-in-our-ribs, King-Smith is challenging us all to learn good manners from a pig. Babe teaches the only acceptable times for anger, and the importance of listening. The only warning I'd give is that King-Smith uses appropriate dog breeder's vocabulary for the mother dog, and if reading to children you will either need to silently edit it out as you go, or have a conversation about what the word actually means and how it is being used appropriately in this book and so is not really cussing. (Doubly ironic that a book themed on civility and manners could be so easily misunderstood to be peppered with foul language, but such it is). This is also one of the few books where the movie adaptation, despite its many differences, does not drive me mad. However do not just watch the film and assume you know the whole story, lest you miss out on this beautifully crafted piece of children's literature." said.

"Most Americans probably discovered the movie 'Babe' before reading the original book it was based on. That was true for me, and the book was a delightful discovery.

The movie is incredibly, page-by-page faithful to the original material, in part because the movie is heavily narrated. This is perhaps one of the few instances when the film version surpasses the author's original creativity but remains true to the voice, the characters and the tone. In contrast to most film adaptations, this one adds new characters, details and side stories that are delightful, and the casting and special effects were absolutely genius, but the book remains worthy of its own read.

Babe the book is an incredibly inventive scenario with rich characters that borrows some of its formula and flavor from Charlotte's Web to tell an anthropomorphic story of personal achievement. King-Smith acknowledges the realities of farming and the food chain less obliquely then EB White did. I enjoyed Babe more because it has a more nuanced take on the realities of the domestication of animals, with more depth and more heart.

So if you've seen the movie, still read the book. And once you've read the book, enjoy the movie.

This is not an easy book for my nine-year-old to read because there is a fast moving mixture of dialect, lengthy descriptive phrasing, British colloquialisms, robust vocabulary and complex compound sentences throughout.
" said.

"This review was originally posted to Jen in Bookland

4.5 stars

Oh Babe: The Gallant Pig is such a cute book! I was telling my husband I was reading this one for my challenge and he was just like you never read it before? He had when he was younger, which makes sense as it is a children's book, but I never even knew it even was a book. I saw the movie when it came out, but that was about it. It is a quick read, but so cute! Enjoyable for people of any age, not just children.

Babe is a piglet that Farmer Hogget wins at the fair. At first the farmer is just going to feed him till he gets big, then eat him, but he quickly finds that Pig is no ordinary pig. Pig is smart and kind, always eager to learn, and from day one has been like a pup to Fly the sheepdog. When he becomes interested in herding sheep like Fly he becomes determined to do it just as well. Only he has a slightly kinder approach to the whole thing and the farmer quickly realizes he might have an award winning sheep-pig!

Babe was really cute. I loved the glimpse into the farm animals lives, how they spoke to and thought of each other. Babe is so kind and caring, while Fly was as well, but she was raised that sheep are stupid and she just has a different view of everything. I really enjoyed it and how Fly learned you don't always have to be snappy to get people/sheep to do things, asking nicely is much better than nipping at their heels. A good lesson for kids, but just a really cute read for adults as well. This was my first time reading it and I will probably go back and read it again when I just need something light and fun. I am so glad I am doing this Gilmore Challenge as I never would have thought to look this book up and read it otherwise. It was so much fun.
" said.

"Dick King-Smith used to teach at my primary school. After retiring he would often visit and read during assemblies, he loved to get feed back from the children about what they enjoyed about his writing and maybe what they did not quite enjoy as much. Therefore, I was delighted to revisit the author and his classic ‘Babe: The Gallant Pig’, which was made into a major motion picture.

As well as teaching, Dick-King Smith had a background in farming. Farming was his passion and inspired him to write mostly about animals and farmyards, which is the setting for ‘Babe’. The story starts with the farmer, Mr. Hogget, winning Babe at a fair by correctly guessing his weight. Originally, the intention of the farmer’s wife, Mrs. Hogget, is to fatten Babe up for juicy pork chops and sizzling bacon. However, Babe escapes and is adopted by the sheep dog, Fly. Babe looks highly upon Fly and begins to copy everything the sheep dog does. Surprisingly, Babe has a talent for sheepherding and before long he is herding the sheep better than any sheep dog ever could. Mr. Hogget spots Babe’s talent and enters him into the Grand Challenge Sheep Dog Trials.

I really enjoyed King-Smith’s use of imagination creating a unique, wonderful tale. I feel his background in farming and his clear passion for the subject strengthens this. I also feel King-Smith has a fantastic talent for creating wonderful characters that are expertly described, Mr. Hogget and Babe are stand outs for me.

I would recommend ‘Babe: The Gallant Pig’ for year 2 all the way through to upper key stage 2 as I feel there are many opportunities to use the book in the classroom, providing messages which are appropriate for the primary audience. Firstly, the way Babe addresses the sheep is a perfect example of how being polite and understanding can reap many rewards. It is not accepted that sheep are ‘stupid’; instead they should be treated as equals. Secondly, the story provides a great example of why we should not base ideas just on people’s appearances. Just because Babe is not a sheep dog does not mean he will not have a talent for herding sheep.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this imaginative and unique book, which I could imagine using as a read aloud book with a broad range of ages, especially appealing to those interested in farm/animal books.
" said.

"Originally posted at You Must Have Your Hands Full

My girls love listening to audiobooks in the car. I have a nice selection of children’s literature, thanks to some great Audible sales. After we listened to Pippi Longstocking, my girls chose The Sheep Pig, by Dick King-Smith. This book is also known as Babe: The Gallant Pig, and is the inspiration for Babe, the Academy Award nominated film.

The story begins when Farmer Hogget wins a piglet at a county fair. Mrs. Hogget is delighted, and thinks about the delicious ham they can eat at Christmas. In the barn, the despondent little pig cries because he is in an unfamiliar place, away from his family. Fly, the sheepdog, comforts him, and calls him Babe, after she learns that his mother called all of her piglets. When Fly’s puppies are sold, she grows closer to Babe, especially after she realizes the little pig has a natural capacity for learning. Babe wants nothing more than to learn to herd sheep. While Fly’s philosophy involves exerting dominance over the woolly beasts, Babe wonders if the sheep might do what he wants if he simply asks nicely. But what will the farmer do when he realizes that the pig might be the best sheepdog he ever had?

My girls have not seen Babe, so this was their first exposure to the clever little pig. This was a very sweet story, and they enjoyed it quite a bit. Babe demonstrates some wonderful qualities; he uses good manners to achieve his goals. Normally I wouldn’t mention a key plot point, but Babe quickly proves his loyalty to the farm by protecting the sheep, and it is decided that he should not be eaten. I want to mention this in case there were any concerns about the specter of death hanging over the pig for the entire story.

I also want to mention that the dog is referred to as the “collie bitch” multiple times. This is, of course, the technical term for a female dog. Apparently, going to school has not corrupted my children because they did not blink at the word “bitch”. But as soon as the dog said that sheep were “stupid”, my children were outraged and proclaimed that they couldn’t believe that the dog said the worst word in the world.

I would absolutely recommend The Sheep Pig/Babe: The Gallant Pig. This is a heartwarming story. The print edition is best suited for children in elementary school, but my kindergarten girls enjoyed listening to this story, so it would be a nice choice for reading out loud
" said.

" This was a lovely book, just as lovely as the movie except it kept using the word "bitch" in its animal meaning and that uh took me aback every time? But Babe is lovely and amazing and I love having the book and being able to read it after all these years of watching the movie. " said.

" Darling.Also, for what its worth, I believe the film version is one of the best book-t0-screen adaptations ever achieved. " said.

" My class had no interest in this book and neither did I to be honest. " said.

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