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  • Titus Rules!
  • Written by Dick King-Smith
    Illustrated by John Eastwood
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780440420002
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Written by Dick King-SmithAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Dick King-Smith
Illustrated by John EastwoodAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by John Eastwood

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On Sale: July 16, 2009
Pages: 96 | ISBN: 978-0-307-54812-2
Published by : Yearling RH Childrens Books
Titus Rules! Cover

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fiction (4) dogs (4)
fiction (4) dogs (4)
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

WHO'S MORE IMPORTANT than the Queen? Whom does she serve? Her royal corgis, of course! But life isn’t just royal thrones and unlimited biscuits for young Titus, Her Majesty’s favorite pup. There are burglars to catch, fires to put out, leaking tubs to attend to, and jealous cousins to deal with. In the end, though, it’s the Queen’s edict that matters most: “Titus Rules!”

Dick King-Smith, beloved author of Babe: The Gallant Pig, offers a delightfully entertaining book to inspire readers with love for young
Titus, and also with love for reading.

“Kids will enjoy the engaging Titus; the fast-moving, witty prose; and the adventures inspired by loyalty and royalty, whether two legged or four. Comic drawings add to the fun.”—Booklist


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

Chapter One





In an armchair in the great high-ceilinged drawing room sat a woman, surrounded by dogs. Some sat in other chairs, some on the hearthrug, and one, the youngest and not much more than a pup, on the woman's lap.

All the dogs were of the same breed. All of them looked up as the door of the room was opened by a tallish man with a strong nose and receding hair and rather bristly eyebrows, who strode in with a military gait that suggested he might once have been a soldier, or perhaps a sailor.

At sight of him, the youngest dog jumped off the woman's lap and rushed forward, getting between the man's legs and almost tripping him up.

The bristly eyebrows came together in a frown. "Good heavens, Madge!" said the man angrily. "Do we have to have these fat little brutes under our feet all the time?"

The woman rose to her full height (which was not very great). Unlike her husband, she was plump and had thick gray hair, set in neat permanent waves.

Like him, she looked angry. "There would be no problem if you looked where you were going," she said in a high voice, "and I'll thank you not to refer to my dogs as fat little brutes. They are not fat. They simply have short legs, like all corgis."

Husband and wife stood glowering at one another in that grumpy way that long-married people sometimes do, but before anything else could be said, there was a knock on the door and into the drawing room came a footman carrying a tray. This he placed upon a table before withdrawing, backward.

Once the door was closed, the tallish man said, "You feed 'em too much, Madge, that's the trouble."

"That is your opinion, Philip," said the Queen icily, "which I would be glad if you would keep to yourself. Do you want a cup of coffee?"

"No thanks, I fancy something stronger," the man said, and he withdrew, frontward.

The Queen poured herself a cup of coffee and then, taking from the tray a plate of cookies, proceeded to feed them to the corgis. "Custard creams, my dears," she said, smiling. "Your favorites." And she gave an extra one to the youngest corgi.

"Not your fault," she said to him. "He wasn't looking where he was going."

Later, when the Queen had finished her coffee and left the room, the mother of the youngest corgi jumped into her chair, warm from the imprint of the royal bottom, and her son scrambled up beside her.

His name was Titus, and like all young creatures, he was curious about everything. It was the first time he had been allowed into the drawing room of the castle, and also the first time he had met the Queen's husband.

"Mum," he said, "who was that man?"

"The Queen's husband," his mother replied.

"'Philip,' she called him," said Titus.

"Yes. He's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh."

"Oh," said Titus. "They didn't seem to like each other much."

"I think they do," said his mother. "Their barks are worse than their bites."

"Oh," said Titus. "Mum, you told me she's called Queen Elizabeth the Second."

"Yes."

"What happened to the First?"

"Died. A long time ago."

"Oh," said Titus. "But, Mum, if her name's Elizabeth, why does Prince Philip call her Madge?"

"It's his nickname for her," his mother said. "Short for Majesty."





Chapter Two





The door of the great drawing room now opened once again and in came the footman to collect the tray, on which stood the two cups and saucers, the coffeepot, and the plate that had held the cookies.

The footman inspected the tray. One cup had been used, he saw, one not, and picking up the coffeepot, he found that it was still half full. He grinned.

"Thanks very much, ma'am," he said. "Plenty left for me. But surely you've never scarfed all those custard creams? I could have done with a couple."

Then he looked around the room and saw ten pairs of bright eyes watching him from various chairs and from the rug before the blazing fire. Ten pink tongues licked ten pairs of lips and ten stumps of tails wagged hopefully.

"Of course!" said the footman. "I should have known. It wasn't her that ate 'em. It was you greedy little fatties. Treats you better than she treats old Phil, or Charlie, or the rest of 'em, she does. Pity you don't live out in the Far East. They eat dogs out there. You lot would make a proper banquet." And he picked up the tray.

When he had left the room, Titus said, "Mum, who was that man?"

"Just a footman," his mother replied.

"Footman?" said Titus. "What was wrong with his feet?"

"Nothing, dear," said his mother. "A footman is one of the servants in the castle. There are lots of them."

"What's a servant?"

"Someone who looks after you, does whatever he or she is told, fetches and carries, just like that footman brought the tray for the Queen and the Duke."

"But, Mum," said Titus, "why couldn't they fetch their own coffee and cookies?"

"Oh, goodness me, no, Titus!" said his mother. "That would never do. The Queen and Prince Philip have to be looked after. They're not expected to work. When you get a little older, you'll realize that Queen Elizabeth is the most important person in the land. No one is more important than she is--at least, no other human being."

Titus cocked his ears. "If I'm reading you right, Mum," he said, "you're saying that there's an animal that's more important than the Queen?"

"Several animals," said his mother.

"What sort?"

"Pembrokeshire corgis."

"Us, d'you mean?"

"Yes, Titus," replied his mother. "The Queen, you see, may be responsible for the welfare not just of her family but of all the citizens of the United Kingdom and her realms overseas. But in her eyes, it is our welfare that is at the top of her priorities and most important to her. She is our servant."
Dick King-Smith

About Dick King-Smith

Dick King-Smith - Titus Rules!
“[I] am a very happy man doing what is in effect my hobby for a living, i.e. writing stories for children.”—Dick King-Smith

Dick King-Smith grew up in Gloucestershire, England. He lives with his wife in a small 17th-century cottage, three and a quarter miles from the house in which he was born.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


I was born in 1922 and was brought up in the countryside, surrounded by pet animals of one sort or another. I was first attracted to the girl I was later to marry through my admiration of her skill (in contrast to my own haphazard husbandry) as a breeder of parakeets. I was thirteen at the time, and she was twelve. It hasn’t worked out too badly, as we have been married for nearly sixty years, three children and ten grandchildren to the good.

I was educated at a preparatory school and then at Marlborough College, a boarding school for boys, where I was good at sports (but not very good) and showed reasonable intelligence (though not very great).

If I had an ambition, it was to be a farmer. But then along came the Second World War, and so I took the king’s shilling—that is to say, I enlisted as a soldier. I served as a platoon commander in the Grenadier Guards, beginning my active service at Salerno with the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943 and ending it eleven months later when a German paratrooper threw a British hand grenade at me in the middle of an Italian forest and filled me full of holes.

My career in farming began in 1947, and though I think I was a decent stockman, my business acumen was extremely low. It was difficult to farm at a loss in those days, but I managed to lose money without fall every year from 1947 to 1967, when the bank manager called a halt.

Six months of selling aluminum-asbestos firefighting suits, boots, and helmets (I didn’t sell many) were followed by three and a half years as a time-and-motion man in a shoe factory (I never really understood the mathematics). Then I trained as a teacher and took a degree from Bristol University at the age of fifty-three, reading English and philosophy. I did well in philosophy even though I hadn’t the faintest idea what it was all about, and still haven’t.

Next came seven years as a teacher in a small village elementary school. I began with eight-year-olds, but it soon became plain that my always shaky grasp of the principles of arithmetic was not adequate for people of that advanced age, so I ended my teaching career with children of five and six.

By this time I had written my first four stories, and now—with time of my own—books began to spring up like mushrooms. In addition, I landed several little jobs as a presenter on children’s television, where I met a whole lot of delightful people and animals and much enjoyed performing in front of the camera.

I’m still turning out books hand over fist—now nearing a hundred in print in the United States, England, and Europe—mostly about animals: farmyard fantasy, I suppose you could call it, often about pigs, my special favorites. I enjoy writing for children so much, and meeting them, and knowing (because they tell me) that they get enjoyment from what I do.

I’m happy, and so are my wife and my children and my grandchildren and the bank manager. I’m a lucky man.


PRAISE


BABE
The Gallant Pig

—An ALA Notable Book
—A Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book
—A Horn Book Fanfare Honor Book
—An IRA/CBC Children’s Choice
—An NCTE Teachers’ Choice

“An animal fantasy which will inevitably be compared to Charlotte's Web. . . . Combines a robust pleasure in the smell and feel of rural surroundings with a humorous affection for all living creatures . . . a splendid book.”—Starred, The Horn Book Magazine


FUNNY FRANK

“Thoroughly engaging . . . chipper dialogue, generous helpings of humor and a lickety-split plot add up to an amusing chapter book.”—Publishers Weekly

“Amusing . . . a fine choice for early chapter-book readers.”—School Library Journal


  • Titus Rules! by Dick King-Smith; illustrated by John Eastwood
  • November 09, 2004
  • Juvenile Fiction; Humor
  • Yearling
  • $5.50
  • 9780440420002

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