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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.
King-Smith produces another winner with this latest animal yarn starring a lovable little girl with a jumbo-size dream. Rupert, the family dog, has long been in his grave when Janie discovers his collar in the garage. Knowing her parents would never buy another Great Dane (they are too expensive to feed), the determined eight-year-old decides to invent a pet of her own. Enter Henry, the invisible dog who eats invisible food purchased with invisible money . . . . What follows is a captivating conglomeration of propitious events, acts of fate and magical brewings which lead to Henry's metamorphosis into a real live dog. Like its predecessors, including Babe the Gallant Pig , Pretty Polly and Paddy's Pot of Gold , this slim volume is chock-full of warmth, zany imagination and soft-hearted irony. This novel will appeal to animal lovers of all ages, and also to those who believe or fervently hope that wishes can come true. Ages 7-10. (May)
K-Gr 2-- A beginning chapter book that is well up to King-Smith's usual high standards. Janie is nearly eight-years-old and can barely remember her family Great Dane that died when she was two. She longs for another pet, but her parents insist that they no longer have the time or the money for such a large dog. Janie finds Rupert's collar and leash hanging in the garage and begins an elaborate game of pretending to have an imaginary dog. She meets an elderly neighbor who enters into the fun. How Janie succeeds in finding, first, the money she needs, and then, her flesh-and-blood Great Dane makes a marvelously unpredictable tale, and one that ends with a tantalizing bit of ambiguity. The author has the ability to round out characters in just a few well-chosen words. A fine choice for newly independent readers or as a classroom read-aloud. Children will beg for more. --Ruth Semrau, Lovejoy School, Allen, TX
"King-Smith has created another irresistible yarn."--Booklist.