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Black Beauty (Children's Classics) Paperback – 5 Apr 1993
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A horse is a horse of course, unless of course the horse is Black Beauty. Animal-loving children have been devoted to Black Beauty throughout this century, and no doubt will continue through the next. Although Anna Sewell's classic paints a clear picture of turn-of-the-century London, its message is universal and timeless: animals will serve humans well if they are treated with consideration and kindness.
Black Beauty tells the story of the horse's own long and varied life, from a well-born colt in a pleasant meadow to an elegant carriage horse for a gentleman to a painfully overworked cab horse. Throughout, Sewell rails--in a gentle, 19th-century manner--against animal maltreatment. Young readers will follow Black Beauty's fortunes, good and bad, with gentle masters as well as cruel. Children can easily make the leap from horse-human relationships to human-human relationships, and begin to understand how their own consideration of others may be a benefit to all. (Ages 9 to 12) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
- -One of the greatest books ever narrated by a horse, with a fine message: be kind to animals, and they'll be kind to you.- --Michael Morpurgo, Guardian
- "One of the greatest books ever narrated by a horse, with a fine message: be kind to animals, and they'll be kind to you." --Michael Morpurgo, Guardian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
The book is geared towards the horse lover and I can't relate to that. I know my daughter gets more out of being with horses than I could ever imagine and this book is aimed at those who bond with horses and will feel part of the story.
I did read it when I was in my teens and I still remember parts of it and also I remember watching the TV series back in the 70's.
I wouldn't say it's a literary masterpiece but it is a huge seller and has a place in the history books as a true story of childhood, horses and choices. Lots of lessons and good advice throughout and doing the right thing wins through in the end.
It is a very good story that reaches a particular audience, so for a horse lover it's sure to be a big hit if you can get them out of the stable.
Ok, some suspension of disbelief is needed, but no more than a great many other stories.
The main leap of faith required is that horses can understand human speech perfectly. Furthermore, they can talk to each other (unbeknown to humans), with a full and varied vocabulary, they have an almost humanlike code of conduct, they forge lasting friendships, they have long memories, and they are capable of deep feelings, such as love, happiness, sadness, pain, or loyalty.
Of course, these attributes are essential; because our tale is narrated by the horse himself, Black Beauty, a handsome, good-natured thoroughbred stallion.
.... and so to the story itself.
Our protagonist, Black Beauty, tells us about his life, in which he is bought and sold numerous times over the years, frequently passing to new owners and situations, with varying levels of treatment.
He is expected to perform in many different ways: as a riding horse, pulling carriages, as a cab horse, as a hire horse, but always working, never as a "pet". I was reminded of the way we view our cars nowadays - to the Victorians, a horse was a commodity, an essential form of transport, albeit a living one,
This, however, is a story with a message - not exactly subtle, the message is delivered with sledgehammer tactics. It is quite obvious that the main purpose of this book is to educate people as to the correct treatment of horses.
With each passing chapter, Black Beauty is subjected to just about every good or bad experience possible to a Victorian horse, and each time the reader is left in no doubt as to the "learning point" of the chapter - don't overwork your horse, be kind to your horse, don't use a bearing rein, keep the stable clean, don't ride when you're drunk, etc, etc. If the bad or good thing hasn't happened to our hero, it will happen to one of his horse friends, who will then obligingly relate it to Black Beauty during the story.
Despite the very obvious "horse welfare" lecturing tone running through the book, it still worked for me. I managed to enjoy it as a charming story, and I found myself becoming immersed, routing for Black Beauty, and wanting things to turn out well for him. The ending was very moving - I challenge anyone to read it without feeling some emotion as they finish that final page.
I will say that the conversations are very long winded at times and it made me feel like a snail slithering through salt. But on the bright side it does have an ending.
The story is thin and the theme is very unexplained. I have always imagined Black Beauty to be like a Lassie running about for the safety of the world.
It's NOT! No its more like the local jangle at an old pensioners home. "Oh my hooves!" "My neck is hurting from that check reign. Oh my neck!" I was like What; and before you say it I know what it is but does it need 5000 words to let me know about it! I think not.
In two words, NEVER AGAIN!
But it still is a must read of life.
A beautiful book. I would thoroughly recommend it.
What a wonderful, eloquent story. It's hard to believe that this was written in 1877 - some of the things mentioned could be relevant today, such as the traffic jams in London, and drunk 'drivers' causing death and mayhem.
I can recommend this book to anyone, young or old, who likes horses or, like me, just loves a really well-told story from a bygone era.
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I have no words to describe it it was brilliant.Read more
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