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Dick King-Smith

“[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.


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.


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


“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

Author Bookshelf


By: Dick King-Smith

Ace: The Very Important Pig

By: Dick King-Smith

Meet Ace, Babe's great-grandson, who also gets a new cover from Knopf Paperbacks this season. "
A Horn Book Fanfare Honor Book
An IRA/CBC Children's Choice
A School Library Journal Best...

A Mouse Called Wolf

By: Dick King-Smith

Wolfgang Amadeus Mouse ("Wolf," for short) has a big name for such a little mouse. But the name fits. His favorite pastime is listening to Mrs. Honeybee, the lady of the house, play the piano. If only...


By: Dick King-Smith

Knopf is proud to present a handsome 20th-anniversary edition of Dick King-Smith’s bestselling novel that became an Academy Award–nominated movie. When Babe arrives at Hogget Farm, Mrs. Hogget’s thoughts...

Babe: The Gallant Pig

By: Dick King-Smith
illustrated by: Mary Rayner

Fresh from his foray into Hollywood stardom, Babe gets a new cover for the Knopf Paperbacks line.
An ALA Notable Book

A Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book

A Horn Book Fanfare Honor Book


Charlie Muffin's Miracle Mouse

By: Dick King-Smith
illustrated by: Lina Chesak

"This accessible chapter book tells the story of Charlie Muffin, a quiet man who works as a taxidermist and mouse breeder. When he tells his friend Merry that it would be impossible to breed a green mouse,...

Chewing the Cud

By: Dick King-Smith

A candid and very funny memoir from beloved children’s book author Dick King-Smith.
Before he was a children’s book author, Dick King-Smith was a soldier, a farmer, a salesman, a factory worker, and...

Funny Frank

By: Dick King-Smith

Being a duck isn’t all it’s quacked up to be.

But don’t try telling that to Frank—he’s a chicken with a dream. All he thinks about are webbed feet, waterproof feathers, and the cool water...


By: Dick King-Smith

There is terror in Godhanger Wood. With each passing day, another animal falls prey to the bloodthirsty gamekeeper, and another corpse is nailed to his gibbet. As the death toll rises, it seems that nothing can...

Harriet's Hare

By: Dick King-Smith

Illustrated in black-and-white. Eight-year-old Harriet Butler is not really lonely--her housekeeper is a hoot and her dad's awfully nice--but she lost her mom when she was little. The last thing Harriet...

Harry's Mad

By: Dick King-Smith

"Harry's parents and friends think he's crazy because he acts out the rich fantasies of his 10-year-old imagination. And when his eccentric American uncle dies and leaves Harry a parrot named Madison...

Lady Daisy

By: Dick King-Smith


By: Dick King-Smith

Mr. Ape

By: Dick King-Smith
illustrated by: Roger Roth

Archibald Peregrine Edmund Spring-Russell ("Ape," for short) is thrilled to be living alone for the first time in his life. Now he can finally fill his fifteen-bedroom house exactly as he pleases --...

Mysterious Miss Slade

By: Dick King-Smith
illustrated by: Ann Kronheimer

From the beloved author of Babe: The Gallant Pig comes a funny and compassionate story about a mysterious neighbor and her many, many animals!

All the village children think Miss Slade is a witch. Perhaps...


By: Dick King-Smith


By: Dick King-Smith

Babe: The Gallant Pig

By: Dick King-Smith

When Babe arrives at the Hogget farm, Mrs. Hogget's thought turn to sizzling bacon and juicy pork chops. It looks as if the litle pig is destined for the dinner table -- until he reveals a surprising talent for...


By: Dick King-Smith


By: Dick King-Smith

Dick King-Smith brings his signature wit and charm to the Stepping Stone line with a lovable new puppy who's sure to capture readers' hearts. Smasher is always getting into trouble, whether it's chasing...

Spider Sparrow

By: Dick King-Smith

Spider Sparrow has always been different. Abandoned as an infant in a lambing pen and adopted by a kindly shepherd and his wife, Spider’s life is unusual from the start. As he grows, it becomes clear that...

The Catlady

By: Dick King-Smith

Muriel is known as the Catlady, because she lives alone with just her many cats for company. When a new kitten is born, it soon becomes clear that it’s no ordinary cat. Vicky is a kitten with a very regal character,...

The Golden Goose

By: Dick King-Smith

Farmer Skint and his family have fallen on hard times at Woebegone Farm until their goose lays a golden egg. With the birth of Joy the Golden Goose, the fortune of the Skint family begins to change. But what will happen when...

The Guard Dog

By: Dick King-Smith

There are six puppies in the pet shop; five posh pedigreed ones, and a scruffy little mongrel with a grand ambition — to be a guard dog. The other pups laugh at him. How can such a small dog possibly...


By: Dick King-Smith

The Merman

By: Dick King-Smith
illustrated by: Roger Roth

From the beloved author of Babe: The Gallant Pig comes a charming fantasy about 10-year-old Zeta, who befriends a merman while on vacation in Scotland.

While vacationing in Scotland, Zeta meets a rather...

The Robber Boy

By: Dick King-Smith

From the author of the best-selling Babe: The Gallant Pig, comes a rip-roaring, riotous tale. Young Tod Golightly tries to follow family tradition as a `toby man,' 18th century English slang for a ruffian...

The Roundhill

By: Dick King-Smith

From the author of  Babe: The Gallant Pig comes a charming ghost story about a lonely boy who meets the real Alice in Wonderland--two years after she died!

She was an intruder to him at first. After...

The Stray

By: Dick King-Smith

Illustrated in black-and-white. From the author of Babe: The Gallant Pig comes the story of spirited Henrietta Hickathrift who on her seventy-fifth birthday runs away from home - the old age home, that...

The Toby Man

By: Dick King-Smith


By: Dick King-Smith

The Water Horse

By: Dick King-Smith
illustrated by: David Parkins

Now in paperback! From the award-winning author of Babe: The Gallant Pig comes the story of how the Loch Ness monster finds his home, thanks to the human family that raises him.

Three Terrible Trins

By: Dick King-Smith

Within the walls and under the floorboards of Orchard Farmhouse live three mischievous mouse brothers (a.k.a. the trins) who create constant commotion. "With his customary panache, King-Smith grabs the reader's...

Titus Rules!

By: Dick King-Smith

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...

The Mouse Butcher

By: Dick King-Smith
Illustrated by: Wendy Smith

Pigs Might Fly

By: Dick King-Smith
Illustrated by: Mary Rayner

The Sheep Pig

By: Dick King-smith

The Sheep-pig is one of Dick King-Smith's most famous tales. It shot to further fame when the film adaptation, Babe, was released in 1995. 'Why can't I learn to be a Sheep-Pig?' When Babe, the little...

The Golden Goose

By: Dick King-smith

Farmer Skint has no luck on his farm until one day his goose lays a golden egg, which hatches out into a golden gosling. From that moment on, Farmer Skint is a lucky man. As the bird gets older, her golden...

Puffin Modern Classics the Sheep-pig

By: Dick King-smith

The Sheep-pig is one of Dick King-Smith's most famous tales. It shot to further fame when the film adaptation, Babe, was released in 1995. 'Why can't I learn to be a Sheep-Pig?' When Babe, the little orphaned...

The Invisible Dog and the Sheep Pig Bind Up

By: Dick King-smith

Two of Dick King Smith's finest animal stories in one package! In The Invisible Dog a little girl tries to satisfy her yearning for a dog by introducing an imaginary Great Dane called Henry to the house....


By: Dick King-Smith


By: Dick King-Smith


By: Dick King-Smith