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ISBN/ASIN : 0140621490
Manufacturer : Penguin Books Ltd|
Release data : 23 February, 1995
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An important, instructive, and moving classic
A beautiful, compassionate book highlighting the mistreatment of horses. This was quite a ground-breaking book in the 19th Century, and was helpful in pushing forward the rights of animals. It was the century where the rights of animals started to be considered, though great men, like Hogarth and Cowper, had not been slow in condemning animal cruelty in Britain in their time.
'Black Beauty' is an instructive novel in a non-sanctimonious sort of way, which tells of the good and bad people Black Beauty meets, and of his friendship with other horses such as Ginger.
Black Beauty is the narrator of the book, but avoids the tweeness which similarly written novels often descend into. It's obviously depressing in parts, and sometimes you wonder if we've moved on at all, but it's one of the top ten books I'd recommend for children.
- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.
wait till they're a little older
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.
Moving and thought provoking story of a horse
Everyone should read this book. A story told through the horse's eyes and of the misfortunes he suffers, how he comes down in the world through no fault of his own but finally finds security and happiness.
The key to Black Beauty is that it is not out of date. Cruelty to animals - not just horses - is rising and we need to be aware of it to fight it.
The book also raises the point that cruelty does not have to be inflicted with intent but can also be inflicted through ignorance - highlighted in the case of young Joe Green who does not know what to do when Beauty comes into his stable exhausted and "allows the horse to drink water thinking he is so hot he will like it" thereby causing the horse to have an illness that nearly kills him.
The book also addresses the plight of the horse in war - an issue that is still relevant today.
You must read this book if you have never read it. One of the greatest Classics of all time.