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Paperback Black Beauty: The Greatest Horse Story Ever Told (DK Classic Readers Level 4, Grades 2-4) Book

ISBN: 0789453886

ISBN13: 9780789453884

Black Beauty: The Greatest Horse Story Ever Told (DK Classic Readers Level 4, Grades 2-4)

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

A horse in nineteenth-century England recounts his experiences with both good and bad masters. Illustrated notes throughout the text explain the historical background of the story.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

The First Animal Rights Book...

Because it is a well-known classic and a children's perennial favorite, many people do not realize that "Black Beauty" is an impassioned plea for animal rights, written at a time when such a notion was dismissed as ridiculous. And because it is what it is, sensitive children may need a parent to explain that, thankfully, most of the abuses described in the book are long gone, thanks in part to crusaders like Anna Sewell.In a story that takes place in 19th century England, a gorgeous glossy black colt, who comes to be known as Black Beauty, is born into a life of comfort and kindness. His life is a kind of horsey paradise, until the fortunes of his owners turn...and Black Beauty is sold.Sold to a cruel owner as a cab horse, Beauty is now treated as so many hapless animals were in his day...he is virtually tortured. He is in constant pain. His knees are sore. He is made to wear a "check rein," a device that no longer exists, but which scares me to this day because of the impression its description made upon me as a child. It was a type of rein that forced the horse to keep his head up extremely high at an unnatural angle, the more to look "elegant." The pain that this rein inflicts upon Beauty is heartbreaking, and it did indeed break my heart to read it.Along the way, Beauty meets other horses, and keeps a lifelong friend, Ginger, who also suffers. Everything comes out alright in the end, in a story that is so tender and yet meaningful at the same time, that it is a shame it is relegated by reputation to the backwaters of so-called "children's literature." It was pure muckracking, in the style of the great American muckrakers who came shortly thereafter. Will a child realize this? It's hard to know, but I know that as a child I was simply haunted by the described cruelty to this horse. And of course heartened by the ending. But I have to say that, many decades later, some of the cruelty in this book still upsets me.Therefore, I recommend the book with a caveat: If you have a particularly sensitive or thoughtful child, please warn him or her that Black Beauty is mistreated in the story, but that because of the book, and others like it, such mistreatment of animals no longer exists. And then let your child enjoy the sheer wealth of detail in what really is, in the end, a beautiful story.

Black Beauty has became a Timeless Classic

"Black Beauty," written by author Anna Sewell, is one of the most famous horse books during the nineteenth century. Part of its achievement consists that the novel is a classic for people with many different characteristics. First published in 1877, "Black Beauty" continues to enjoy people for new generations of American citizens around the world. Anna Sewell's brilliant account of animal treatment became a historic breakthrough because it was the first book that described a horse's experience in England. "An autobiography of a young stallion," this book follows the life of Black Beauty. Throughout the novel, it is told in a creative first person form, as if Beauty was describing and narrating his life. Ms. Sewell chose to write this book from the "horses point of view," and she remarkably was able to succeed with her novel. Since Sewell intended on writing this novel in Beauty's point of view, the reader begins to understand the impact of good and treatment towards the horse and his loyal friends. Starter of the Humane Society, the author truly captivates readers with this autobiography of a beautiful, friendly, loving black stallion. In a letter to her friend, Sewell expresses that she hopes "Black Beauty will induce kindness, sympathy, and understanding treatment towards horses." From Beauty's happy, enjoyable youth to his pleasant retirement, Anna Sewell ingeniously wrote the book to remind the cruel treatment in the 1800's. Most importantly, Sewell wrote the book in a time where horses were not given the same respect today, and "Black Beauty" helped to open the eyes of many to the cruelty horses had to suffer. Although Anna Sewell's classic paints a clear picture of the society in London, England, its message is universal and timeless: animals will serve humans well if they are treated with consideration and kindness.

A must-read for every animal-loving little girl

What girlhood would be complete without reading this tearjerker classic? As a child, there wasn't much I loved more than books, horses and a good cry -- and this provided all three.For those of you who don't know the story, Black Beauty is horse in England during the 19th century. He begins life with a loving master, but due to circumstances is sold several times -- to owners both kind and cruel.Sewell, a Quaker woman, wrote this book (first published in 1877) to enlighten the public. Horses at the time were often beaten, starved and overloaded. Sewell's book, however, became a catalyst for change and ushered in a new way of thinking about the treatment of animals.


Since pictures & illustrations are as much a part of a child's imagination as the written word, then this book beautifully combines both, with the abundant B & W line illustrations by illustrator Lucy Kemp-Welch, in addition to the 12 colour plates included - all in keeping with the time period this novel is set in. A wonderful edition to any child's library.I've been reading horse-topic related books for as long as I can remember; but the very 1st horse story that left an indelible impression on me was ANNA SEWELL's " BLACK BEAUTY ". It really openend my eyes as to the abuse and cruelty - and majestic fraility - that these wonderful creatures suffer at the hands of their human counterparts. Ms Sewell opted to write this book from " the horse's point of view " and she was one of the very few authors that was able to pull this off with such great success. This book also, laid the cornerstone for the ASPCA aims and goals, and brought to light the conditions and treatment of working horses in 20th century London, England ( and elsewhere ). The story is such a wonderful tale of a horse's life from start to finish; told with a quiet dignity and warmth - and serves as a successful analogy also, as to how humans should interact with one another. This book also laid the cornerstone for my interest and love of horses, and further spurred my interest in reading about all things Equine. From there, and I went on to read all of Walter Farley's "The Black Stallion" series ( I used to collect the hardcover editions), and Marguerite Henry's books, and National Velvet(which really wasn't about a horse per se, but more about a little girl who's dreams come true), and anything else I could get my horsey-hungry hands on! I now keep a copy of Anna Sewell's "Black Beauty" in my library at home, and have given a copy to my daughter to read. This is a tale that sensitizes the reader to the plight of horses at the hands of their human caregivers, trainers, etc - all told from the horse's mouth ( so to speak )..! And lest we think that the inhumane treatment of horses has abided since this book was written - one only has to follow the controversy surrounding the use of "Premarin", or abusive training methods of gaited horses, or the Thoroughbred racing industry, or rodeo...etc.There is still much to be gleaned about the exploitation and abuse of animals from this book - which will always remain a timeless classic.Kim C. Montreal, 05/2000
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