A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Heartrending, beautiful, and educational, this morality tale and animal autobiography gives a majestic horse a voice that is believable and unsentimental. An animal-rights classic that also is a great read, BLACK BEAUTY follows the life of an ebony horse from birth to old age, and from pasture to the cobblestone streets of 19th-century England.
Is it any good?
The first full-length book told from a horse's viewpoint, BLACK BEAUTY is a heartbreaking tale of the cruelties, both malicious and inadvertent, that animals suffer at the hands of humans. It's also a book of sensuous writing that can take the reader from the beauty of a spring country evening to the coal-coated world of Victorian London. Anna Sewell was a devout Quaker, and there is a spare, Quaker ethic running through the novel, encouraging the value of hard work without complaint, as well as a humble countenance.
This book eventually influenced the abolition of the cruel bearing rein, kicked off the animal-rights movement, and forced more humane treatment of London's human cabbies. Although the book is beloved by animal-loving children around the world, some readers may find the gentle sermons, as well as Beauty's loyal attitude to even the most cruel human, out of date. But most kids will feel like one 10-year-old reader, who whispered, "I learned what it feels like to be an animal...and I cried."