Title: ACE: The Very Important PigACE
Author: Dick King-Smith
Illustrator: Lynette Hemmant
Pages: 135
Reading Level: 9-12
Star Rating: ★★★

Ace is written by Dick King-Smith, author of Babe and Funny Frank.

The Story.

Ace doesn’t want to leave the happy farm with the rest of his siblings. He wants to stay home. So, when Farmer Tubbs asks him if he wants to go to market, Ace replies with a single grunt – that means no. None of the other animals know quite what to think when Ace tells them that he can understand human speech and that he’s developed a yes-and-no system to reply to them, but since Ace is a sweet young pig, they make friends with him. All of them except Megan.

Megan, the Corgi, considers herself to be Royalty and refuses to waste her time on the commoners. Still, Clarence the cat manages to squeeze in an introduction between the two of them one afternoon while Her Ladyship is taking her sunbath. But will she allow Ace into the house? And will Ace’s fancy learnings profit him any?

Discussion.

The basis of Ace is entirely fanciful. Ace is a pig who can understand human speech. He develops his own system of responding to humans when they speak to him – one grunt means no, two grunts mean yes. Ace’s owner comes to understand this and “talks” with Ace. Ace interprets the farmer’s words to his animal companions who are amazed that Ace can understand human language.

Ace loves nothing better than lying on the couch watching “the magic box” – TV. He even has his favorite channels and shows. In the end, Ace himself is a guest on one of these shows where he “answers” the questions that his host puts to him. He becomes a national sensation.

In the first few chapters, Ace lives with his mother. It is obvious that she doesn’t love him very much (she snaps at him and wishes that he had left with the rest of his siblings). Their relationship disappears by the middle of the story.

Ace’s relationship with Megan is interesting. Megan is a Corgi and, because Corgis are favored by the Royal House, she believes that she is a cut above the other animals. She is very snobby. Initially, Ace pretends to respect her, going along with her snobbishness, and sometimes gaining an end by flattering her. However, he eventually tires of her petty nature and snaps at her to shut up. After that, she becomes much more tolerable.

When Ace accompanies his master to a pub, he gets drunk.

A little boy yells at his mother.

Conclusion. Funny, but not necessary.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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