Saturday, 28 May 2011


Back in January, we lost the prolific children's writer, Dick King-Smith, whose books included the utterly delightful The Sheep-Pig, which became the hugely successful movie Babe.

Among Dick's over 120 titles was the 1990 volume of verses, Alphabeasts: twenty-six alphabetical animal poems (from A for Anaconda to Z for Zambra) with illustrations by Quentin Blake.

In 1993, in collaboration with my good friend the composer, David Hewson, I worked on turning the verses into a kind of zoological revue.

Staged as part of a show entitled Stuff and Nonsense at The King's Head Theatre in London (the other half of the bill comprising David's settings for the nonsense verses of Edward Lear from our show, To Sea in a Sieve); I wrote introductions to each of the verses, added a lyric or two, and performed the numbers with Sue Bloomfield accompanied by David on the piano.

Dick King-Smith's verses have simplicity and charm and David's settings are full of delightful little melodies and a number of sly jokes on various musical styles from Gilbert & Sullivan via Aaron Copland to Kurt Weill.

Unheard by the world for 18 years – I wonder why?! – here is that musical menagerie. If you have some free time on your hands this bank holiday weekend, why not join me on this Alphabeastly safari?

Just click the 'play' button on the image below.

I hope you enjoy your visit, but – please remember – DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS!


Geno said...

What a great writer! I did not know that we lost him though. Very sad. He will defiantly be remembered. My children are becoming big fans of his and now I must bear them this news.

Steven Hartley said...

Ahh! I had no idea that he died early in January this year. He really was a great author - I've read one of his books when I was 11 called "Mr. Ape" - and that was a good novel.

Sheila said...

You're right to ask - why unheard for 18 years? Great fun!