Updated: Feb 8
Do you remember watching Dick King Smith on television when you were young? Maybe in Rub-a-Dub-Tub in the early 80s. Or perhaps you’ve enjoyed the film adaptation of the Sheep-Pig, Babe? I still remember watching The Queen’s Nose every week on CBBC circa 1995.
Although the author certainly featured heavily in my childhood I don’t know if he has the same profile of other popular authors from my youth such as Roald Dahl and Jacquline Wilson.
Dick King-Smith was born in 1922 and from an early age loved animals and decided to become a farmer’s apprentice. After a year of farming the Second World War was raging and in 1941 aged just 19 he enlisted as a recruit in the Grenadier Guards. In 1943 he was a platoon commander in the Salerno Landings in Italy. He fought there until July 1944 when he has hit by a hand grenade and was returned to the UK to recover and convalesce.
He later returned to farming and afterwards became a teacher. It wasn’t until 1976 at the age of 54 that wrote his first children’s book. He went on to become a very sucessful children’s author, (and sometimes children’s TV presenter) writing 130 books, which sold a total of 15 million copies worldwide.
Many of his titles draw on his lifelong love and passion for animals of all shapes and sizes, a topic that is still popular with children today. Do you have any Dick King-Smith memories from your childhood? Have your children read any of his books? I would love to know.
You’ll find several of his titles on our website, they are brilliant early chapter books (recommended for ages 6+), ideal to curl up with. Another one of my favourites, ‘Jungle Jingles’ is an inventive collection of animal poems. Well worth a read if you fancy finding out what happens if you fall into a river full of piranha fish, or if man-eating tigers only eat men?