Dick King-Smith was born and raised in Gloucestershire, England, surrounded by pet animals. After twenty 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 well-loved books is Babe, The Gallant Pig , which was recently made into a major motion picture, and was nominated for an Academy Award.
Dick currently lives with his wife in a small 17th-century cottage, about three miles from the house where he was born.
Gr 2-4‘Eight-year-old Harriet lives on a farm in England. Her mother is long dead, her father is a loving but busy farmer, and the housekeeper is a character but not a companion. Then one summer morning, ``a perfect circle of flattened wheat'' changes her life. When she goes out to investigate, she meets a truly amazing hare who talks. It seems Wiz (short for wizard...Harriet's name for him) is really an alien from the planet Pars, who has landed in this peaceful farming village for a vacation and maybe to help a lonely little girl. He can change his shape and seems to be able to see the future. When he leaves, Harriet has a new mother and all is well. Roth's appealing pencil drawings wisely stick to realistic representations and allow readers to imagine the more fantastic elements in the story. This is a warm fuzzy tale full of gentle poignance, frolicking humor, and magic. It could take place anywhere‘as long as there is enough room for a spaceship to land. It's a good beginning chapter book for youngsters to read independently and makes a fine read-aloud. King-Smith's fans will certainly enjoy it and those who have yet to discover this talented author should be charmed.‘Jody McCoy, Casady School, Oklahoma City
King-Smith (Babe: The Gallant Pig; The Terrible Trins) again chooses his beloved English countryside as the setting for this amiable tale of a magical hare. Examining a mysterious circle of flattened wheat in a field on her father's farm, seven-year-old Harriet is startled when a hare ``lollops'' up to her and says, "Good morning." The animal confides that he is an alien from the planet Pars and has adopted the identity of a hare while he vacations on earth. Learning that the Partian can speak any language and transform himself into any creature, the child names him Wiz. Through their periodic encounters in the fields, the considerate hare fills a void for Harriet, whose mother has died. And Wiz brings about a final, joyous turn of events that guarantees that Harriet and her likable father will never again be lonely. If predictable and a touch slow-moving, King-Smith's gentle story has the same, timeless quality that distinguishes much of his work. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 7-12. (Apr.)