8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Not for the very young,
This review is from: Black Beauty (Young Reading Gift Editions) (Hardcover)
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.