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The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith is a brilliant book for children from about the age of 6 to 10. The author writes lots of animal stories and the anthropomorphism in his work is perfect - it is very easy to forget that the animals can't really talk and think like humans!
The book begins at a fair where a farmer wins a tiny piglet. He thinks that this will make a good Christmas dinner when it is fattened up and takes it home. The piglet is scared and lonely, but soon makes friends with Fly the sheepdog and her puppies. We learn that the piglet doesn't really have a proper name, but thinks he must be called Babe because that's what his mother called him.
Babe is told by Fly that sheep are very stupid animals and Babe believes her until he meets Ma the sheep. Ma tells him that the dogs are incredibly rude and good manners like Babe has will make the sheep behave in the way they want much faster than any wolf (dog) can. Babe decides that he wants to be a sheep-pig and sets about becoming one.
There are lots of funny moments in this book and some that will tug at your heart-strings as well as Babe goes from tiny piglet to would be sheep-pig.
Babe has excellent manners and this is one of the best features of this book. It helps to teach children that if you have good manners these will open many doors for you. The film Babe, which is based on this book, changed this aspect so that the pig had to learn that good manners were the key rather than just having good manners in the first place.
I can highly recommend this book for children. It is great as a read aloud bedtime story and for independent readers. They will quickly warm to the characters of Babe, Fly and Ma and soon become real in their minds through the excellent writing of Dick King-Smith.