FRIDAY, 13 SEPTEMBER 2013

Animals entertain readers of all ages

comment   | print |


My Animal Friends
by Dick King-Smith
written for ages 7-10 | highly recommended
published in 2013 (1996) | Walker Books Ltd. | 96 pages

Dick King-Smith is the well-loved author of The Sheep Pig (filmed as Babe). His droll and understated use of humour is something I particularly enjoy in his many children's books. My Animal Friends includes a useful autobiographical foreward. In this, King-Smith describes how animals were with him throughout his life, from when he was a small boy of four to when he picked up a pup during soldier duties in Italy, to farming life, to life as an author.

King-Smith used to keep pets in an unused grass tennis court enclosed with chicken wire. Amongst others, he kept lots of guinea pigs, rabbits, a tortoise, and a pair of golden pheasants. He also used to keep "masses" of mice and even became a member of a National Mouse Club.

All sorts of animal adventures abide in this book, including a lazy bull called Ben about whom King-Smith remarks, "I don't think Ben would have hurt a fly. It would have been too much effort." Then there is Susie, a small black and white terrier who disappears in freezing weather for eight whole days and nights. Nanny Anna is a stubborn daschund born with a propensity for mother-love, fussing over not just her own puppies, but also kittens and four piglets that had been rejected by their young sow.

There are many other animal adventures packed in this little paperback including tortoise riding, the author's memory of a visit to the zoo when only four years old, pet goats, a clever fox, a playful chimp with cheeky habits and a crow that the author feeds regularly in his garden.

Children can benefit from reading and interacting with animals. This story may encourage parents to purchase a pet or just to cultivate the child's power of observation with animals.

A former children's librarian, Jane Fagan is currently a full-time mother of two.


MORE ON THESE TOPICS | animals

This article is published by Jane Fagan and MercatorNet under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

 
comments powered by Disqus
 

Reading Matters is MercatorNet’s blog about children’s literature. Our goal is to enable parents and educators to find quality books for young people. For an explanation of our evaluation system, click here. We welcome reader input and new reviewers. We love comments on the book reviews. Write to us at jennifer.minicus@mercatornet.com.


Search this blog

rss RSS feed of posts

 our picks for
2-7 years 13-16 years
7-10 years 15-18 years
9-12 years 18 and over
11-14 years all ages

 our standards
highly recommended: you must read this!
recommended: age-appropriate and entertaining
acceptable: not outstanding but not problematic
some reservations: contains potentially problematic scenes or concepts
not recommended: not appropriate for intended readers


Follow MercatorNet
Facebook
Twitter
Newsletters
Sections and Blogs
Harambee
PopCorn
Conjugality
Careful!
Family Edge
Sheila Reports
Reading Matters
Demography Is Destiny
Conniptions (the editorial)
Information
our ideals
our People
Mercator who?
partner sites
audited accounts
donate
New Media Foundation
Suite 12A, Level 2
5 George Street
North Strathfield NSW 2137
Australia

editor@mercatornet.com
+61 2 8005 8605
skype: mercatornet
© New Media Foundation 2014 | powered by Encyclomedia | designed by Elleston