Dick King-Smith's Recollections of Pig Farming
King-Smith really enjoyed his pigs and complains about how the pig is "linked always with gluttony, obesity, and squalor" (82). He is a big believer in porcine intelligence, something one can see by looking into a pig's eye. As he concludes, "The expression in the eye of a dog is trusting, of a cat supercilious, of a cow ruminative, of a sheep, vacuous. But the look in the eye of a pig is, quite simply, knowing. Other beasts think, This human is looking at me. The pig thinks, I am looking at this human. There is all the difference in the world" (82).
King-Smith got the idea for The Sheep-Pig (1983) while tending the Guess-the-Weight-of-the-Pig stall at the village fair. As he recalls it, "I must, I suppose, have thought as I stood upon the village green, recording people's guesses and taking their money, that it was a shame that such a lovely little pink pig should end up, once he was big enough, in the deep freeze. Suppose fate had something quite different in store for him? Suppose he should go and live on a farm, with a sheep-dog as his foster mother? Suppose he should want to do what she did? He couldn't be a sheep-dog. But he could be a sheep-pig" (6-7). King-Smith's book won the Guardian Award for Children's Fiction (he used the £250 prize to buy a new armchair) and later was adapted into the popular film Babe (1995) by director Chris Noonan.
The picture on the book jacket is of King-Smith with Monty, his "pig of pigs."