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Ace
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Gr 3-5-- Ace is an intelligent, lovable, unlikely pig hero, similar to his ancestor Babe: The Gallant Pig (Crown, 1985). Ace is distinguished from his littermates by a black mark in the shape of a club from a deck of cards, and also by his ability to understand human speech. The lonely, good-natured Farmer Tubbs is used to talking to his animals, but he is amazed when this young piglet makes his wants known with different grunts. With the help of the clever house cat and by flattering a fat corgi, Ace gains entry to the house and makes himself comfortable watching the magic television box. Despite the fame that he achieves, the pig remains unspoiled and content with the simple pleasures: his animal friends and a good television show viewed from the comfort of his favorite armchair. King-Smith's delightful animal fantasy is lightly satirical, poking fun at human pretensions in the foibles of the animal characters. The division of the book into 14 short chapters makes it particularly appropriate as an introduction to longer fiction and well suited to teachers looking for read-aloud fiction. --Yvonne Frey, Peoria Pub . Schools, IL

Once again, King-Smith recounts the adventures of a highly unusual pig in this fanciful sequel to Babe: The Gallant Pig , which introduces Babe's great-grandson Ace. Much to the amazement of the other barnyard animals, Ace understands the language of human beings and, although his own vocabulary is limited to a few snorts, squeals and grunts, communicates quite well with his owner, Farmer Tubbs. As time goes by, Ace starts to act more like a person than a pig. He sits in the farmer's most comfortable chair, watches educational TV, rides in the front seat of the truck and even visits the local pub. When word of the remarkable pig spreads throughout the countryside and Ace becomes a celebrity, fame does not go to his head. In the end he is content to lead a quiet life on the farm. Readers will recognize many parallels between this book and its predecessor, yet fresh characterizations and new plot twists prevent old concepts from growing stale. Emerging as a gentle parody of human behavior, this winsome story is sure to warm hearts and bring smiles. Ages 7-12. (Sept.)

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