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Black Beauty (Penguin Popular Classics) Paperback – 27 Sep 2007

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Paperback, 27 Sep 2007
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Black Beauty
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In stock on July 8, 2015.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (27 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140621490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140621495
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.8 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 264,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Anna Sewell (1820 – 1878) was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. When she was about fourteen, she sprained her ankle and it was treated badly. That, and a bone disease, meant that Anna could never walk properly. In those days, before the car, horses and one’s own two feet were the main means of transport. As she couldn’t use her feet, Anna began to rely heavily on horses to pull her around in a cart or trap. Soon she grew to love horses and to be appalled by the careless and cruel treatment they often received from humans.

In 1871 a doctor told Anna that she had only eighteen months to live. She was very weak but very determined to write a book, “to induce kindness, sympathy and understanding treatment of horses”. Five years later, she was still working on Black Beauty, her only book. By this time she was so weak that she couldn’t get out of bed and she could only write a few lines at a time. Her mother would then make a clear copy of Anna’s pencilled writing. Black Beauty was finished and published in 1877. Anna died a few months after publication so never knew of the book’s huge success.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By DocMartin on 9 Nov. 2006
This book did for horses what Charles Dickens managed for workhouses, boarding schools and several other of the less laudable Victorian institutions. Like Dickens, it has survived the test of time and remains on most "Children's Classic" lists. Although there are plenty of horsy adventures for the hero, Sewell manages to avoid almost all of the traps of anthropomorphism and sickening sentimentality that infest most kids' books that touch upon matters equine. This book should however come with a warning: it can be quite brutal, as was the Victorian's treatment of working horses and, when I first read it as a child of six I found it harrowing and desperately upsetting (although it does have a reasonably happy ending). At 44, I still can't read it without a tear and a lumpy throat so this is probably not one for the nursery bookshelf; however, it remains on my list of essential reading for children. My eight-year-old son is studying Victorian history as his school project and has put down Harry Potter in favour of this; trying to prevent my six-year-old, horse-mad daughter from picking it up may prove problematical.
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Verified Purchase
Book was bought for my mother, who is 84 and had read this book as a child. She mentioned how much she enjoyed reading it then, and was up to date with her favourite authors of the moment such as Martina Cole and Lynda La Plante. She reread Black Beauty in 2 nights and enjoyed it as much as ever - so this is definitely one for the reread list. Would recommend for children, or for those who read it as children, loved it then, and would enjoy reading it again.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Feb. 2001
Having always loved horses and having been a pony mad child, this was one of the first books I read about horses and is still the one I come back to time and again. The story follows a horse by the name of Black Beauty and is written in the style of the horse himself telling of his life. It follows him through both good and bad times and, even all these years after I first read it, still makes me laugh and cry every time. I would definately reccomend this title to everybody, horse-lover or not.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ms. K. E. Fallows on 25 May 2002
Everyone should read this book. A story told through the horse's eyes and of the misfortunes he suffers, how he comes down in the world through no fault of his own but finally finds security and happiness.
The key to Black Beauty is that it is not out of date. Cruelty to animals - not just horses - is rising and we need to be aware of it to fight it.
The book also raises the point that cruelty does not have to be inflicted with intent but can also be inflicted through ignorance - highlighted in the case of young Joe Green who does not know what to do when Beauty comes into his stable exhausted and "allows the horse to drink water thinking he is so hot he will like it" thereby causing the horse to have an illness that nearly kills him.
The book also addresses the plight of the horse in war - an issue that is still relevant today.
You must read this book if you have never read it. One of the greatest Classics of all time.
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