Saturday, May 26, 2012

Babe The Gallant Pig

King-Smith, D. (1983). Babe the gallant pig. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

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Babe The Gallant Pig is an animal fantasy young adult book. The main setting of the story is on the Hogget family farm. The setting is integral because the events that occur in this story would not be the same if the story did not take place on the Hogget farm. The most important characters in the story are Mr. Hogget, the farmer, Fly, the dog, and Babe, the pig, although there are lots of other animal characters in the story. I feel that Babe is the only protagonist in the story because by the time the book is complete, his character has fully been described. This story begins with Mr. Hogget going to a nearby fair because he heard squealing far away. He comes to find out that the noise he heard was a pig. The pig didn't seem to like anyone until Mr. Hogget picked him up. The pig instantly liked the farmer. A bet was going on for everyone to guess the pig's weight. Whoever guessed the closet would win the pig. Mr. Hogget ended up winning the pig and brought him home to his farm. The pig, whose name was Babe, ended up getting really attached to Hogget's dog, Fly. Fly was a dog who had had many pups and did lots of jobs to help the farmer on his farm. Fly was known as a sheep-dog. Babe watched Fly train his pups and learned so much watching them. He ended up very well trained and could do as much and eventually more than any other animal on the farm. Babe ended up being a sheep-pig (that's what he considered himself to be).

Mr. Hogget ends up training Babe in hopes of eventually taking him to the Grand Challenge Sheepdog Trials. The farmer had never in his life had another animal who he felt had a chance in this challenge. He was confident that Babe had a great chance of winning this challenge. How would he explain to the judges that his competitor was a pig though? Would that work? Those are two very important questions that get answered in Babe The Gallant Pig. In order to find out what happens with Babe and Farmer Hogget, you have to read this fantastic animal fantasy. 

I would most definitely recommend this book to fluent young adult readers and of course to teachers. First of all, the sentences in the book flow very well, and there wasn't ever a time that I needed to re-read any parts. I chose this book because I knew it had been previously used in one of Dr. Gibson's class as a required book; therefore, I knew it had to be a great one. The conflict in this story would mainly be person-against-self because Babe desires to achieve a goal to be good enough to be considered a sheep-pig. He works really hard so that the farmer will let him do work on the farm and compete in the challenge at the end of the book. This story has a progressive plot where everything is told in order, the characters, setting, and conflict are established, a climax occurs, and lastly a happy conclusion occurs. Toward the end of the story, you find a short poem that includes rhyme. For example, pg. 97: "But on the hoof or on the hook, I bain't so stupid as I look." One type of figurative language that must be discussed in personification, which is typical among animal fantasy stories. The animal characters in Babe The Gallant Pig are given human qualities. For example, they communicate in English with one another, which we know is not possible. King-Smith chose to write this story in third-person-sympathetic point of view. The author tells us how some of the characters feel, but not all. Lastly, an afterword is concluded in this story where personal information is given about the author.

BIG questions - What if you had an animal like Babe? Would you have entered Babe into the challenge like Farmer Hogget did? Why did Fly seem happy that Babe was taking over his job on the farm? If you were getting old and someone took your place, how would you feel?

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