Dick’s First Book

Published on Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Many years ago, in 1976, when Dick was 54 years old, he started to write his first story for children, The Fox Busters. It was based on his experience of being a farmer twenty years earlier, when one day a daring fox had attacked and killed in broad daylight some fine white cockerels that Dick had owned.

Now, we all know that nature can be brutal, and Dick’s idea for the book’s theme sprang from the idea that instead of being terrified and helpless victims, what if fowl could fight back against the foxes, and what if they could win? This concept of triumph over adversity would become an abiding theme in Dick’s books for many years to come.

Having had no previous experience of writing children’s books, as Dick wrote The Fox Busters, he would read the emerging story to his first grandchild, Tom, who was seven years old at the time. It was with young Tom’s critique (along with rejections from two different publishers and two years of hard work in shaping the story into a finished product) that The Fox Busters was finally published in 1978 when Dick was 56 years old. It became an immediate success and Dick went on to have about 140 books published.

Today is actually Tom’s 50th birthday, so happy birthday Tom! Who knows, perhaps without his help, Dick wouldn’t have gone on to have such success!

In the photograph, Dick reads to Tom and Tom’s mother Liz.


  • Kate McGivern says:

    In actual fact, both Tom & I (Dick’s eldest granddaughter Kate, Tom’s sister) were read this and gave Grampa Dick our feedback, Tom was 7 and then 8 yrs old during this process and I am two years younger, however I was always a keen reader and ahead of my “reading age”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Dick King-Smith site illustration