On of my favorite movies of all time is the Children’s Classic “Babe”. The barnyard animal portrayals are all so exactly and precisely spot on what I could really imagine those creatures ‘sounding’ like that it will always embody what I think ducks must ‘talk’ like, or crotchety border collies, or cud munching cows.
Dick King-Smith was the author of “Sheep-Pig” – the original title of the book the movie “Babe” was based on. A teacher for many years, King-Smith made a failed attempt at farming, but turned his experiences into a success with his children’s books, many of which he referred to as “Farmyard fantasies”.
From the Los Angeles Times –
..His most famous book was his sixth, “The Sheep-Pig,” published in England in 1983 and retitled “Babe: The Gallant Pig” when it was published in the United States in 1985. The book won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 1984, with one judge declaring it “perfect.”
It’s the story of a piglet that is won at a fair by a sheep farmer and adopted by the farm’s mother sheepdog, Fly.
Trained to herd sheep by Fly, the polite Babe puts his own spin on getting sheep to obey.
“If I might ask a great favor of you, could you all please be kind enough to walk down to that gate where the farmer is standing, and to go through it? Take your time, please, there’s absolutely no rush.”
The author, who tapped his years of working with farm animals for his writing, had an affinity for pigs — despite a fondness for eating bacon.
“It’s something I may have to see my psychiatrist about, but yes, I have a real soft spot for pigs,” he told the Daily Telegraph of Sydney, Australia, in 1996. “I like pigs as friends and for their intelligence. I have always admired them.”
King-Smith, who sold the movie rights to “The Sheep-Pig” to Australian writer-producer George Miller shortly after it was published, was a fan of the Chris Noonan-directed movie.