Babe, the movie, may or may not have been in my movie viewing. However, I am going to assume that it is only like Babe the Gallant Pig, the book, in the fact there is a pig, farmer and sheep. I can only imagine there is more emotion to the movie. The book has “Babe did this” and “The sheep said this” action. Everything is clinical. Even the action is actionless. (Spoiler) The big scene where Babe saves the sheep from the other dogs, I felt like I was reading a script and the action not reading a book. The finale was also better suited for the big screen and not the page.
The story is sweet: a sheepdog, Fly, adopts the piglet she names Babe. He is, of course, smart and able to become a sheep-pig with not a lot of trouble. The theme of family is where you make it is obvious. The other themes of politeness and discrimination are obvious. But as said above, something is missing. The (pardon the rude pun) meat of the story was lost. Maybe it was too young for me (aimed at ages 7 to young 10). Maybe it was the “Britishisms” that threw me off (there is “language” by American standards as the dog is called a bitch). Maybe it was too casual about life on a farm (they mention pigs fates on most farms, but it is almost assumed the reader understands this fact of life). Maybe it was just not a good book. Maybe I just do not like Dick King-Smith as an author. Maybe I was not in the mood for that book.
The bright spot in all of this was Melissa Manwill’s black and white illustrations. While not fancy, they were expressive and showed you highlights of the book. They break up the flow of text that was stiff and sluggish.
I am a bit embarrassed to say, it took me a few days to get through around 100 pages. I will still recommend King-Smith to people to read, especially kids who like talking animal stories, but I will not be in his “OMG have to read all of his books” club.