Tag Archives: pigs

Florence Takes the Lead by David Harding


IMG_4099Florence Takes the Lead by David Harding, paperback chapter book, 85 pages, published by Random House Australia in 2012.

Ben has a beautiful shaggy sheep dog called Florence, who is his best friend, and goes most places with him. When his parents decide to have a long weekend away in the country, Florence goes with them to stay at the guesthouse. Together they discover a pig farm still using the old methods of sow stalls and farrowing crates, which means that the pigs are heavily confined. Can Ben and Florence help to liberate the pigs and educate the farmer regarding more humane pig farming practices?

Florence Takes the Lead is part of the RSPCA Animal Tales series, which promote the humane welfare of animals. These books are suitable for lower and middle primary school students, and will be particularly appealing for animal lovers. This was a reasonably simple adventure story with an important message about animal welfare, and the great work the RSPCA do. While the story is fictional, the adventure is based on animal welfare situations that unfortunately do happen. However, these books are a fun way for younger children to become aware of the various issues facing animals and those that advocate for them. After the story ends, there is a fact file, first providing some information about the RSPCA, and then some information about pig farming in Australia. And there are more books in this series just waiting to be explored!



King Pig by Nick Bland


IMG_0509King Pig by Nick Bland, hardback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2013.

King Pig has a kingdom full of sheep that don’t seem to like him, and he doesn’t understand why. He desperately wants them to adore him, but nothing seems to work, and this is the one thing that he can’t command them to do. One night he has an idea, and he wakes up all the sheep to make him some new fancy clothes, but it doesn’t impress the sheep. What can he do to remedy the situation?

In this book we see that being powerful doesn’t automatically make one likable. It is much better to be nice and considerate of others, and being bossy all the time only leads to resentment and discontent. This is a hard lesson for King Pig to learn, and a good message for our children. My kids enjoyed this book, but not quite as much as the other Nick Bland books we have. It wasn’t as funny, though we still liked the story and the illustrations are lovely. I liked the way that the sheep had their wool dyed and removed, while my kids liked it when King Pig used one of the sheep strapped to a wooden handle to clean his castle. This is a good book for preschoolers and kids in lower primary school.


* King Pig was an honours book for the 2014 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year in the Picture Book category.