Dick King-Smith (1922-2011)

Prolific and best-selling British author who wrote more than 100 books in his lifetime. Ronald Gordon King-Smith was born in Gloucestershire in 1922.. He was a farmer for many years before becoming a teacher and then beginning to write for children. Not surprisingly, given his background,  most of his stories are about animals and many are set in farm locations. He is perhaps most famous for his book
The Sheep-Pig which was turned into the film Babe.

Most of his books are aimed at younger readers and are usually full of humour. A few of the stories feature equines, including part of a series about a little girl called Sophie and a stand-alone story featuring heavy horses and a donkey, as well as other books featuring donkeys and mules.

He was awarded the OBE in 2010.




Sophie Series:
Young reader's series about an animal loving little girl whose ambition is to become a farmer. Not all in the series are pony stories but I have included the full series here for clarity. (The last 3 contain the most horsy content.)

1) SOPHIE'S SNAIL
FIRST EDITION WALKER 1988
ILLUSTRATED BY DAVID PARKER
Reprinted in paperback a number of times by Walker.
Published in the USA in hardback by Delacorte a
Published in the USA in paperback by Candlewick and Yearling.
Also reprinted in an omnibus edition (see below).
SUMMARY: Although only four, Sophie already knows she is going to be a farmer when she grows up. She loves all animals - even snails!

2) SOPHIE'S TOM
FIRST EDITION WALKER 1991
ILLUSTRATED BY DAVID PARKER
Reprinted in paperback a number of times by Walker.
Published in the USA in hardback by Delacorte a
Published in the USA in paperback by Candlewick and Scholastic
Also reprinted in an omnibus edition (see below).
SUMMARY: Sophie makes friends with a moggy.

3) SOPHIE HITS SIX
FIRST EDITION WALKER 1991
ILLUSTRATED BY DAVID PARKER
Reprinted in paperback a number of times by Walker.
Published in the USA in hardback by Delacorte.
Published in the USA in paperback by Candlewick.
Also reprinted in an omnibus edition (see below).
SUMMARY: Sophie has reached the ripe old age of six and is still making new animal friends including a littler of kittens.

4) SOPHIE HITS SIX
FIRST EDITION WALKER 1991
ILLUSTRATED BY DAVID PARKER
Reprinted in paperback a number of times by Walker.
Published in the USA in hardback by Delacorte.
Published in the USA in ppaperback by Candlewick.
Also reprinted in an omnibus edition (see below).
SUMMARY: Sophie reaches the ripe of age of six and makes more animal friends, including a litter of kittens.

5) SOPHIE IN THE SADDLE
FIRST EDITION WALKER 1993
ILLUSTRATED BY DAVID PARKER
Reprinted in paperback a number of times by Walker.
Published in the USA in hardback and paperback by Candlewick.
Also reprinted in an omnibus edition (see below)
SUMMARY: Sophie gets a dog, makes friend with a pot bellied pig and has her first ride on a pony!

6) SOPHIE IS SEVEN
FIRST EDITION WALKER 1994
ILLUSTRATED BY DAVID PARKER
Reprinted in paperback a number of times by Walker.
Published in the USA in hardback by Delacorte.
Published in the USA in ppaperback by Candlewick.
Also reprinted in an omnibus edition (see below).
SUMMARY: Now Sophie is 7 she can start riding lessons. She also has fun in the school concert

5) SOPHIE'S LUCKY
FIRST EDITION WALKER 1995)
ILLUSTRATED BY DAVID PARKER
Reprinted in paperback a number of times by Walker.
Published in the USA in hardback and paperback by Candlewick.
Also reprinted in an omnibus edition (see below)
SUMMARY: Will Sophie ever be lucky enough to have a pony of her own?

Other Editions:

SOPHIE'S ADVENTURES
FIRST EDITION WALKER 1995
ILLUSTRATED BY DAVID PARKER
Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: Omnibus edition includes the first 3 books in the series.

SOPHIE'S FURTHER ADVENTURES
FIRST EDITION WALKER 1995
ILLUSTRATED BY DAVID PARKER
Reprinted in paperback.
SUMMARY: Omnibus edition includes the last 3 books in the series.

HERE COMES SOPHIE
FIRST EDITION WALKER 2004
ILLUSTRATED BY DAVID PARKER
SUMMARY: Contains a selection of stories from the 6 Sophie books.

Collectors info:
Available in hardback, paperback and in omnibus form. All editions are easy to find in the UK and in the USA, where the majority were also reprinted a number of times. Most are still in print and available new. All editions are harder to find in Australia and elsewhere.

Other Horse & Pony Books:

HORSE PIE
FIERST EDITION DOUBLEDAY 1993
ILLUSTRATED BY VALERIE LITTLEWOOD
Reprinted in paperback a number of times by Corgi.
SUMMARY: Three heavy horses who live at a horse's retirement home are not best pleased when Jenny, a common seaside donkey joins their ranks. But when the horses are in danger it is up to Jenny to save the day.

THE TOBY MAN
aka THE ROBBER BOY (USA title)
FIRST EDITION GOLLANZ 1989)
ILLUSTRATED BY VALERIE LITTLEWOOD
Reprinted in paperback by Puffin.
Published in hardback in the USA by Knopf/Random House.
Published in paperback in the USA by Scholastic, and re-titled.
SUMMARY: Younger reader's historical adventure story featuring a donkey. Tod Golightly wants to follow in the family tradition of being a highwayman, but is not very successful until he is taken in hand by the donkey Matilda and her other animal friends.

TRIFFIC
FIRST EDITION ORION 1994
ILLUSTRATED BY LIZ GRAHAM-YOOL
First published as a story in
Triffic Pig Book in 1991 (see Other Editions).
Reprinted in paperback by Puffin
Published in the USA by Troll Paperbacks with illustrations by Cary Pillo.
SUMMARY: Short novel for younger children. Part pig story, part mule story. Triffic the piglet and Octavius the mule become the stars of the rare breeds centre where they live.

Other Editions:

TRIFFIC PIG BOOK

FIRST EDITION  GOLLANZ 1991
First published as a story in Triffic Pig Book in 1991 by Gollanz.
Published as a novel in 1994.
Reprinted in paperback by Puffin and Gollanz.
Published in the USA by Troll Paperbacks with illustrations by Cary Pillo.
SUMMARY: The author's pig and mule tale Triffic is included in this book which is a compendium of pig related facts and activites.

Collectors info:
All are easy to find in the UK, especially Horse Pie which has been reprinted many times and is still in print. The USA edition of The Toby Man is easy to find in the USA, as is Triffic, although Horse Pie is slightly more elusive to find there and can also be quite hard to find in Australia.

Books about the author:

CHEWING THE CUD
(VIKING 2001)
ILLUSTRATED BY HARRY HORSE
Reprinted in paperback by Puffin.
Also a large print edition published by Chivers.
Published in the USA by Knopf.
SUMMARY: Memoir of the author's life, especially concentrating on the animals he has known and loved. Aimed at children, but also suitable for adults.

Collectors info:
Copies can be found easily in the UK and USA.