Dick King-Smith was born and raised in Gloucestershire, England, surrounded by pet animals. After 20 years as a farmer, he turned to teaching and then to writing children's books. Dick writes mostly about animals-farmyard fantasy, as he likes to call it, often about pigs, his special favorites. He enjoys writing for children, meeting the children who read his books, and knowing that they get enjoyment from what he does. Among his most well-loved books is Babe: The Gallant Pig, which was made into a major motion picture that was nominated for an Academy Award.
Gr 3-5-Mrs. Gray, a recently widowed attic mouse, decides to devote her life to her newborn triplets, or "trins." With her loving guidance, her sons become clever and brave. The trins befriend a cellar mouse, considered below their class, who helps them chase off the resident cat. Together they invent the game noseball, which unites the four clans of mice living in the house. Farmer Budge and his wife round out this delightful story. This version of Dick King-Smith's book (Crown, 1994) will satisfy fans, and perhaps win new ones. While the recording is unabridged, it does not follow the text word-for-word, which may confuse those reading along. Narrator June Whitfield, one of Britain's leading comedy actresses, is well-suited to the reading. Whitfield changes her voice for each character; there are no sound effects. The four clans of mice are represented with differing British accents which may at first be difficult for American children, but they will easily warm to them. It would have been helpful to have included instructions to fast-forward through the three minutes of silence at the end of side one. The story will be enjoyed by a wide audience.-Angela J. Reynolds, Clark Co. Public Library, Winchester, KY
"At six o'clock on the morning of her birthday, Mrs. Gray's husband was killed and eaten." With his customary panache, King-Smith (Babe: The Gallant Pig; Harry's Mad) grabs the reader's attention from his opening sentence. And, sustaining his understated wit and rollicking pace throughout this breezy novel, the author never loosens his grip. Because this is the third husband she has lost ("I really know how to pick 'em"), Mrs. Gray-a mouse who, living in the attic, belongs to the highest of Orchard Farm's four social strata-vows she will never marry again. Instead, she pledges to devote her time to the education and upbringing of Thomas, Richard and Henry, her three "trins" (``another word for triplets''). Under her firm but loving tutelage, the gutsy brothers distinguish themselves among the house's mouse population and manage (in several funny scenes) to get rid of the farm's feline occupants. And when the trins inadvertently find their mother a new husband-a Cellarmouse who is worthy despite his lowly birth-the author subtly lets an vital message shine through the merriment. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 7-12. (Oct.)