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The Jenius


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Dick King-Smith, creator of 'Babe the Sheep-Pig', presents the cleverest guinea pig in the world!

About the Author

Dick King-Smith served in the Grenadier Guards during the Second World War, and afterwards spent twenty years as a farmer in Gloucestershire, the county of his birth. Many of his stories are inspired by his farming experiences. Later he taught at a village primary school. His first book, The Fox Busters, was published in 1978. He wrote a great number of children's books, including The Sheep-Pig (winner of the Guardian Award and filmed as Babe), Harry's Mad, Noah's Brother, The Hodgeheg, Martin's Mice, Ace, The Cuckoo Child and Harriet's Hare (winner of the Children's Book Award in 1995). At the British Book Awards in 1991 he was voted Children's Author of the Year. In 2009 he was made OBE for services to children's literature. Dick King-Smith died in 2011 at the age of eighty-eight.


Precocious Judy is delighted to find that her two aging guinea pigs have finally produced an offspring, and she immediately starts on an intensive training program. Both teacher and pupil develop big heads as Jenius proves quite adept at learning tricks. But no one else in this gentle British farce believes Judy's stories about her brilliant pet. She takes him to school to defend her claims and to demonstrate his gifts, but when Jenius encounters a cat, Judy is made to look foolish. Warm and humorous in its depiction of Judy's devotion to her pet and Jenius' bravado before his parents, this book is illustrated with one or two colored cartoonlike illustrations per spread, enhancing the lighthearted irony of the enjoyable story. The occasional Briticism is unlikely to encumber most readers, and bright students whose quick curiosity may complicate their social relationships will identify with Judy as she stands up to peer pressure and mild ridicule. Others may be put off by the fairly lengthy text that is not broken down into chapters. --Joyce Adams Burner, formerly at Spring Hill Middle School, KS

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