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Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

OLL LEWIS: Obituary: Dick King-Smith OBE

Obituary: Dick King-Smith OBE (27th of March 1922- 4th of January 2011)

Perhaps the greatest children's author of his generation, Dick King-Smith OBE, died in his sleep on the 4th of January. King-Smith is probably best remembered for being the author of 'The Sheep-Pig' which was later adapted to film under it's American title 'Babe' and the touching story of 'The Water Horse' which was also adapted into a successful film. The Water Horse was the story of how a young boy found an egg which hatched to grow into the Loch Ness Monster, the story works in several parts of Nessie-lore including the 'real' reason why the 'surgeon’s photo' was faked. King-Smith's books were frequently about animals, farm animals in particular, and many had fortean themes like 'Dragon Boy' and 'Paddy's Pot of Gold'; stories about Dragons and Leprechauns respectively.

Dick King-Smith Served as a soldier in World War II before becoming a farmer for 20 years, an experience he would draw extensively from in his stories. He then became a teacher and later an author in 1978 with the publication of his first novel 'The Fox Busters', a story about a group of chickens that take matters into their own hands to eradicate a fox problem in a style reminiscent of 'Dam Busters'. From 1978 to 2007 he wrote a staggering 134 children's books, most of which gained consistently good reviews.

On a personal level Dick King-Smith's books meant a great deal to me. As a child I would love hearing and later reading his books myself at bedtime especially 'Daggie Dogfoot' (a charming story about a small pig born as the runt of the litter who became the first pig to fly) and 'Saddle Bottom' (the tale of a pig who became a military mascot after nearly becoming sausages), and they instilled in me a love and respect for animals from a very young age. My favourite book however was the Hodgeheg, which formed the inspiration for the Claude Gill Bookshop's young readers club.

Rest in peace Dick King-Smith, after bringing joy to so many people all over the world you've earned it.

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