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Babe: The Gallant Pig



Last updated Friday, March 6, 2009

Author: Dick King-Smith
Date of Publication: 2005
ISBN: 0375829709
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2009

Synopsis: Babe is a sensitive soul, deeply loyal to those who are kind to him. So when he is taken in by Farmer Hogget's sheepdog, Fly, it's only natural that he would want to follow in his foster mum's paw-steps. Even with Babe's considerable handicaps as a sheepdog--namely, that he's a pig--he manages to overcome all with his earnestly polite and soft-spoken ways, proving once again that might doesn't always make right. After saving the sheep from rustlers and wild dogs, Babe convinces Hogget that his idea of becoming a sheep-pig "b'aint so stupid" as it might look. But neither Hogget nor Babe, nor anyone else, could have predicted what follows. As utterly charming as Charlotte's Web, this book is bound to pluck even the tightest heartstrings. Masterful characterization brings every personality to vibrant life, while Mary Rayner's lively line illustrations only elucidate images Dick King-Smith has already planted in the reader's mind. Herd the whole farmyard together: readers of all ages, ambitions, and antecedents will love this one.

Note to readers:
•  Vocabulary words: Ewe, Skittle alley, chitterlings, foster, snout, and bitch.
•  Try to finish the book. If not, under a good pace you probably can read up to Page 94, which is a good place to stop.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you seen the movie "Babe: The Gallant Pig?"
•  What/who do you usually call “Babe”?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you have a pet? Are there rules for your pet?
•  Do you think animals can learn?
•  The pig in this story learns to work like a sheep dog. Do you think you can do something no one in your family has done before? (learn a new language/sport, go to college, travel to China/Paris….)
•  Do you have a natural talent that no one in your family has? (ie: singing, playing baseball, drawing, spelling...)
•  How do you feel when people ask you to do things nicely? How do you feel when they boss you around?
•  Have you ever done something even though you felt people might laugh at you? (like coming to Reading to Kids!)

Craft ideas:
•  Conversation HEARTS: Letters to the Troops and First Family. In response to President Obama's call to service and volunteerism, make valentines to send the Troops or any member of the First Family (President Obama, First Lady Michelle, Sasha, Malia). Have each student write their first name, school and grade on the back of their valentine. Turn the valentines into the Site Coordinators to be sent out following the reading clubs.
•  Braided ribbon bracelet. Take 3 different color ribbons and loosely measure it around your wrist. Add an additional inch then double the length. Cut the ribbon, so it is twice the length when measured around your wrist. Line the ribbons up and fold in half. At the folded end, make a single knot with room for a loop. This loop will be used like a buttonhole for the bracelet. After the knot, start to braid the ribbons together. Make sure to keep the same colors doubled up. To braid, line up the 3 ribbons and number them 1, 2, 3. Bring 3 in between 1 and 2. Then bring 1 between 3 and 2. And 2 between 3 and 1. Then, begin with 3 again and put it between 2 and 1. Then 1 between 2 and 3; 2 between 1 and 3. Continue with this pattern. When you get to the end of the ribbons, tie a secure single knot. Bracelet can now be worn on the wrist by inserting the knot into the loop a couple of times.
•  Mini bouquet. Take a tulle circle and fold in half. Use scissors and make a small snip in the center. Grab mini bouquet of roses and insert into middle of the tulle circle. Take parts of the tulle circle and pull it towards the bouquet, giving it a scrunched look. Do this all around the mini bouquet and fasten with a ribbon. Make sure to tie the ribbon tightly and it can be finished off with a simple bow
•  Make a Friendship Chain (Paper Dolls holding hands)—Cut a piece of paper “hot dog style”. Fold the piece of paper accordion style (like a fan) three times. Draw a picture of yourself (boy shape, girl shape) on the fold—make sure your hands and feet reach the edge of the paper. Cut out—don’t cut on the folds. Open up and you’ll see a Friendship Chain. You can try to make a pig friendship chain by drawing “Babe” instead of yourself. Make sure Babe’s snout and hoof and tail and hoof reach the edge of the paper.
•  Make a Valentine’s Day card.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!