Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Babe: The Gallant Pig

Babe: The Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith. Illustrated by Mary Rayner. 1995 (Reprint). Random House. 128 pages.

"What's that noise?" said Mrs. Hogget, sticking her comfortable round red face out of the kitchen window. "Listen, there 'tis again, did you hear it, what a racket, what a row, anybody'd think someone was being murdered, oh dearie me, whatever is it, just listen to it, will you?"
Farmer Hogget listened. From the usually quiet valley below the farm came a medley of sounds: the oompah oompah sounds of a brass band, the shouts of children, the rattle and thump of a skittle alley, and every now and then a very high, very loud, very angry-sounding squealing lasting about ten seconds.
Farmer Hogget pulled out an old pocket watch as big around as a saucer and looked at it. "Fair starts at two," he said. "It's started."
I love the movie. It's become so much a part of me, that I really can't remember a time when I didn't love it. It is just so good. So quotable. So true. So perfect. It's one of those meaning-of-life, beauty-in-simplicity movies. Anyway, I could gush for hours. How does the book compare? Well, the movie will always be better in my opinion. (Rare I know.) But the book was good. The plot is less complex. There are fewer characters, fewer conflicts. There is no "Rex" just Fly. There is no Ferdinand the duck to lead Babe into trouble. There are definitely no singing mice. It's good; it's enjoyable. But you really can't get better than the movie.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Young Readers


  1. I saw the movie before I read the book as well. I adored both and many of his other books. I was very saddened to learn of his death at 88, today.


  2. What a timely review! Sad to say but the author who created "Babe" just passed away Jan. 4th.

  3. It's rare to read a book blogger say they prefer the film to the book. I haven't seen the film but I think I'd better now!