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Dick King-Smith’s unfinished book completed by his great-granddaughter

Josie and Dick King-Smith (Puffin/PA)
Josie and Dick King-Smith (Puffin/PA)

The great-granddaughter of the late children’s author Dick King-Smith has completed an unfinished story first started by her grandfather.

Ambrose Follows His Nose, started by King-Smith before his death and completed by his great-granddaughter Josie Rogers, has been published on Thursday in celebration of what would have been his 100th birthday.

King-Smith, whose full name was Ronald Gordon King-Smith, wrote more than 100 children’s books during his career.

Ambrose Follows His Nose (Puffin/PA)

He became best known for The Sheep-Pig, published in 1983, which was later adapted into the film Babe.

Before his death in 2011, King-Smith had begun writing Ambrose Follows His Nose but never completed the story.

The manuscript was rediscovered by his daughter Liz in 2017 and passed on to Rogers, who later completed the story to be published in honour of her great-grandfather’s centenary.

The final book, published by Puffin Books, is a 50/50 split of King-Smith and Rogers’ work.

The story features a seemingly ordinary rabbit called Ambrose, with an extraordinary sense of smell.

Speaking about the book’s release, Rogers said: “It’s been a true joy to collaborate with Grampa Dick on one of his books.

“The plot was half-written so I added several new characters and six new chapters to complete it. Like many of Dick’s stories, Ambrose features a rebellious little girl and animals who love to ignore what’s ‘expected’ of them.”

She continued: “This year would have been Dick’s 100th birthday. His legacy is a huge back catalogue of much-loved children’s stories, so the prospect of finishing one of them was somewhat daunting.

“It’s possibly not exactly what Dick would have written but I think he’d like it. More importantly, I think it would make him laugh.”

King-Smith’s novel The Queen’s Nose was also adapted for the screen – the book formed the basis of a BBC children’s TV series by the same name, which ran between 1995 and 2003.

Other titles by King-Smith include The Water Horse and Harriet’s Hare. He was awarded an OBE in 2010 before his death 2011, aged 88.

Ambrose Follows His Nose is released on World Book Day, March 3 2022.

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