An image featuring a black and white photograph of Dick King-Smith alongside a collage of some of his books on a yellow and orange background
An image featuring a black and white photograph of Dick King-Smith alongside a collage of some of his books on a yellow and orange background

He’s well-known for creating a character called Babe, or The Sheep-Pig. Dick loved animals throughout his life, from breeding budgerigars as a child to working as a farmer, and this passion is what makes his stories so magical. Did I mention that they’re also heart-warming, hilarious, and full of surprises? And, as you’ll discover, Dick King-Smith didn’t only write about animals. Some of his stories feature their human companions too!

But why should you take my word for it? Well, I’m a bit of an expert – my name’s Josie, I’m one of Dick’s many great-grandchildren, and I’ve read nearly all of his books! In fact, I even got the chance to collaborate with Dick when an unfinished manuscript that he started in the 1980s was discovered recently. I had the honour of finishing that story off, and it became Ambrose Follows His Nose, which you’ll read more about in the list below. Before I began writing, I made sure to reread lots of Dick’s books so that I could finish this one as faithfully as possible. 

When I was little, Grampa Dick loved to read whatever story or poem I had just written, and always encouraged me to get my writing out there. So now I’m returning the favour! Here are some of my favourite Dick King-Smith books, just for you. 

The Hodgeheg (1987)

Max is a very curious hedgehog – he wants to see the world beyond his garden! Unfortunately, Max hasn’t quite got the hang of crossing roads safely. When he gets a bump on the head, his world – and his words – are turned upside down (and inside out). I love this book because it’s so fun to read aloud. Just make sure you don’t get your jurds wombled. I mean, your words jumbled. 

Ambrose Follows His Nose (2022)

Okay, maybe I’m biased about this one because I wrote half of it. But even before I got my hands on it, this story had all the signature elements of a classic Dick King-Smith tale – a rabbit with a very special power, a determined little girl called Biddy, unlikely animal friends, and a lot of silliness. 

The Fox Busters (1978)

This is the first ever book that Dick wrote, and it’s an exciting one. If you don’t think chickens can be quick-witted and cunning, read this book and think again! I think Dick was definitely inspired by my great-grandmother when he wrote this one – she served in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force during the Second World War

The Queen’s Nose (1983)

The Queen’s Nose is a magical story about a girl called Harmony who discovers a very special fifty pence piece. When you rub the Queen’s nose, your wishes come true! Unfortunately, those wishes don’t always work out as planned! When I was in primary school, all my friends and I loved watching the television adaptation of this book. I think the original story is even better, especially because the reader gets to experience Harmony’s amazing imagination. 

Magnus Powermouse (1982)

This book was one of my favourites when I was small, and it still makes me laugh out loud. I love the tender and funny relationships between Magnus, an incredibly strong mouse, and his parents. Read this one closely and you might spot a special character – one who also features in Ambrose Follows His Nose!

An image of author Josie Rogers next to a green quote card and a photo of her as a baby with her great grandfather Dick King-Smith
An image of author Josie Rogers next to a green quote card and a photo of her as a baby with her great grandfather Dick King-Smith

George Speaks (1988)

Dick King-Smith was good at writing in a huge variety of voices – and baby George certainly has a unique voice! He starts talking at only four weeks old to the shock and amazement of his older sister. This book captures all the magic and frustration of having siblings, as well as being extremely funny. 

Blessu (1990)

Blessu is a sweet fable about a small elephant with a very large sneeze. He suffers from the worst hay fever and every time the little guy sneezes his trunk grows! This book is a lovely introduction to Dick’s classic animal tales for younger readers.

The Sheep-Pig (1983)

The Sheep-Pig is a wonderful story about a piglet called Babe who is determined to follow his dreams and won’t take no for an answer. It features some of Dick’s most charming and comic characters, and he said himself that this was his best book. That’s the ultimate stamp of approval! 

Connie and Rollo (1994)

Connie has an awesome aptitude for arithmetic, and Rollo is a rather remarkable rhymer. Everyone has their special skill, and this book is about two children discovering theirs. It’s full of fun and great rhymes, of course. 

The Invisible Dog (1993)

What do you do when you desperately want a pet, but can’t have one? You use your imagination, of course! That’s what Janie does, anyway. But with the help of the mysterious Mrs Garrow, Janie might just get what she wants. I remember listening to the audiobook of this story read by Grampa Dick himself, which makes it rather special.

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