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4.5 out of 5 stars
Black Beauty
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Showing 1-10 of 47 reviews(5 star)show all reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2002
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2002
"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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2002
"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 were serve humans well if they are treated with consideration and kindness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2003
'' I have never forgotten my mother's advice; I knew she was a wise old horse, and our master thought a great deal of her. Her name was Duchess, but he often called her pet.''
So begins the story of Black Beauty. A young, handsome horse Black Beauty gets his name from his dark color and the one white star on his forehead. His journey starts on a plantation with his loving mother, Duchess and kind owner. At first Black Beauty is a colt spending his lazy days in the pasture sleeping by the shade of trees and munching on grass, but as Black Beauty gets older and he gets sold for the first time leaving his mother and old friends behind he begins on a journey filed with adventure, friendships, and hardships.
Black Beauty is a wonderful classic fit for any age. this book is filled with great writing and loveable characters. You won't ever want to put it down. I know I didn't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2002
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell is a nonfiction and adventurous story told by a horse named Black Beauty. Black Beauty is a black stallion that gets sold to many people and has adventures at any place he goes. At his first home he is living peacefully with his mother,brothers,and sisters until he is forced to be sold to John Manly. Right after changing to his second home his life changes as he gets sold to many other people. As he moves from home to home he makes friends with other horses. Ginger, a ginger colered mare that snaps her teeth alot is Black Beauty's old friend. Black Beauty lives with many people. Cruel or kind, he atleast wants someone to love him. This book will show you how a life is being a horse. This story is fun with many horses. I would recommend this book because it is exciting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2002
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell is a nonfiction and adventurous story told by a horse named Black Beauty. Black Beauty is a black stallion that gets sold to many people and has adventures at any place he goes. At his first home he is living peacefully with his mother,brothers,and sisters until he is forced to be sold to John Manly. Right after changing to his second home his life changes as he gets sold to many other people. As he moves from home to home he makes friends with other horses. Ginger, a ginger colered mare that snaps her teeth alot is Black Beauty's old friend. Black Beauty lives with many people. Cruel or kind, he atleast wants someone to love him. This book will show you how a life is being a horse. This story is fun with many horses. I would recommend this book because it is exciting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2010
I have chosen the Whole Story version of the classics, as it is loaded with colour illustrations on each page which help keep the story captivating for the whole family (including younger children who are so visual). The illustrations are not cartoon or elementary, they are excellent quality. The version is also unabridged so you don't loose the beauty and true essence the author originally intended. A wonderful way to introduce the whole family to the classics, while also attracting the young ones. So far I have the following Whole Story classics: The Jungle Book, Black Beauty and Heidi. All are excellent for my younger children: 8, 5 and 3.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2010
One of the best known books, almost everyone has heard of Black Beauty. The story is told from Black Beauty's point of view giving a totally different view of the world. He has to endure some cruel owners but remains hopeful that someday things will turn out better. One of the sad parts is the death of his over-worked friend 'Ginger'.

The hero horse is eventually saved by a kind boy and his grandfather who care for him and restore him to health. It is quite sad in part but does have a happy ending and in its day would have had an effect on the treatment suffered by working horses.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 1997
This particular edition of Black Beauty is beautifully illustrated with old English style color plates. The illustration of the "fire" chapter is interesting in that it depicts the fire engine horses instead of the usual stabled horses trying to escape. I read Black Beauty as a child some 35 years ago. I still have that volume and have collected 16 more.Many low cost editions are without illustrations.... so a book with illustations as these is a must. by Claire
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on December 6, 2000
"Black Beauty" was written in the late eighteen hundreds by Anna Sewell, one of the best authors at the time. At the time that "Black Beauty" was written the owners were abusing the animals in any way you can think of. Anna Sewell sure did not think that way, she felt that animals should be taken care of like a family members. Anna Sewell heard the cries of the animals and decided to get the word out to the people. Anna Sewell decided to write a book about an animal, she decided to write a book about a strong young horse named Black Beauty. Anna Sewell titled the book "Black Beauty". Black Beauty is a novel about a gorgeous black horse. Black Beauty is described as being a young, solid, black houses that is kind and loving on the inside. From the beginning Black Beauty is abused by it's owners. Every time Black Beauty tries to show its owner respect and that the fact that it loves its owner Black Beauty gets punished for something that no one understands. Black beauty is treated like nothing more than a peace of dirt. Its owner does not care what so ever happens to the horse, they hardly give the horse food and somewhat a little bit of water. Every now and than Black Beauty gets sold to a different owner no better then the last one before. Second owner seemed to be a little more open minded and actually bothered to give the horse food and water every day, but as old times the horse began to be abused by the new owner and the family member s as well. Only people who could afford a horse at the time were the very rich people who are known to care less then others most of the time. So after a while the owners seemed to get tired of the and just care less for it. As time passed Black Beauty became tired and began the habit of throwing off amateur riders. Because of that habit Black Beauty was sold again. This time to a lovely lady who really wonted to help the horse. She took care of Black Beauty like it was one of her own family members. She brushed Black Beauty every day and never kept it cold, she also never kept Black Beauty in hunger and loneliness. Black Beauty was promised never to be sold again, and has nothing to fear of. All the troubles were over for him now. Now he could stand under the apple trees with his old friends and not have to think about what is going to happen next tomorrow in its life. Recommendation: I recommend this book to teenagers because it is a very interesting book to read, it can also teach a few lessons about life.
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