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5.0 out of 5 stars Black Beauty, 5 Aug. 2012
By 
Clare O'Beara - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Black Beauty (Paperback)
Anna Sewell was crippled by polio as a girl, and lay near a window where she could watch the horses in the street. She became acutely aware of their working conditions and wrote Black Beauty to tell it from a horse's point of view. This coincided with compulsory education, so for the first time the working class children could read. They read this book to their parents and this raised awareness of the problems at the time, from overwork to a lack of drinking troughs on the streets, to the cruel bearing reins on carriage horses - including those driven by members of the RSPCA. The fact that working people were so dependent on their horses was another factor.

Black Beauty starts life on a farm with his mother Duchess where he is broken in and sold for hunting and carriage driving. He has a fine life but he and his friends Ginger and Merrylegs are sold when the family moves. Beauty and Ginger are sold together but poor Ginger has trouble accepting the tight bearing rein which holds her head high. She is sold off. A boy named Joe Green looks after Beauty at this time and sometimes gets his treatment wrong as he is only learning, so Beauty gets a chill and is very ill. Later in life Beauty becomes a cab horse and the London family are utterly dependent on him for a living. He works six days a week but some horses worked seven. The winter nights see Beauty standing outside a house where a card party is in place, waiting and waiting for their customer. Rich people gave no thought to anyone serving them.
Beauty is finally sold to be a carthorse and meets the worn-out Ginger one more time. He is expected to work until he drops, literally. But a chance meeting with Joe Green who recognises him after all these years by his markings, is enough to save him and he is brought to a kind home once more.
If ever a book deserved reading, this one does.

This has been filmed a few times and to my mind the best and most faithful treatment was the 1994 version directed by Caroline Thompson, starring Sean Bean (briefly) and David Thewlis. This includes a glimpse of 'Anna Sewell' at the very end. Another version starred Mark Lester.

The horse-mad Pullein-Thompson sisters wrote Black Beauty's Clan and Black Beauty's Family, each three tales of horses' lives. Phyliis Briggs also wrote Son of Black Beauty, about a gypsy's horse. Vian Smith referred to Black Beauty in his own homage to working horses he had known, called Parade of Horses (Carousel Books) printed in hardback as Horses In The Green Valley.
Anna Sewell's gravestone was destroyed to make space in the graveyard not many years ago.
A cartoon published in a national newspaper showed a child sitting reading Black Beauty. The caption was - "The monument to Anna Sewell that they cannot destroy."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 28 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Black Beauty (Paperback)
Exactly as specified & it arrived promptly & completely undamaged. Excellent price & service & my daughter loved the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a classic "must", 16 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Black Beauty (Paperback)
Good to re read as an adult and see content from different perspective. Prepare to enjoy but also sad - tears at life of horses but still worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars wonderfull book, 15 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Black Beauty (Paperback)
A very good book! bought it as a present, the girl who received said that she loved it and it was easy to read!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, 25 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Black Beauty (Paperback)
The book was for the school library. It was for students in KS3 and who prefers horses rather than reading.
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Black Beauty
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (Paperback - 26 July 2007)
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