- Also check our best rated Children’s Book reviews
Black Beauty (Living Classics Series) Hardcover – 1 Sep 1997
|New from||Used from|
|Hardcover, 1 Sep 1997||
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
810 customer reviews
Review this product
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Inside the book looks like someone has cut and pasted from another document and not bothered to reformat to fit the page size. There are chapter headings at the bottom of a page with no text underneath and other sloppy presentation points that I wouldn't allow to remain in my children's homework let alone a book I was selling to the public. I can understand why some people would think this was quibbling but it just comes across as if the publisher took no care over their work, not something I want my children to associate with such classic literature as this.
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.
What i find so sad is that so many of the issues raised in this book are things that are still issues today, animal cruelty, bad use of animals for fashion, overworking etc. It's sad that in the many years since this was written, things may have changed, but not improved.
definitely worth a read for adults, as it really hammers home some heartbreaking points, but is still a beautiful story.