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Black Beauty (Sterling Unabridged Classics Series)
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Black Beauty (Sterling Unabridged Classics Series)

4.3 52
by Anna Sewell, Scott McKowen (Illustrator)

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The illustrations for this series were created by Scott McKowen, who, with his wife Christina Poddubiuk, operates Punch & Judy Inc., a company specializing in design and illustration for theater and performing arts. Their projects often involve research into the visual aspects of historical settings and characters. Christina is a theater set and costume designer and


The illustrations for this series were created by Scott McKowen, who, with his wife Christina Poddubiuk, operates Punch & Judy Inc., a company specializing in design and illustration for theater and performing arts. Their projects often involve research into the visual aspects of historical settings and characters. Christina is a theater set and costume designer and contributed advice on the period clothing for the illustrations.

Scott created these drawings in scratchboard ­ an engraving medium which evokes the look of popular art from the period of these stories. Scratchboard is an illustration board with a specifically prepared surface of hard white chalk. A thin layer of black ink is rolled over the surface, and lines are drawn by hand with a sharp knife by scraping through the ink layer to expose the white surface underneath. The finished drawings are then scanned and the color is added digitally.

Every child loves a story about a horse, and Black Beauty remains one of the finest, most touching ever written. Set in Victorian London, the novel follows the shifting fortunes of a horse as he moves from owner to owner. Narrated by the noble Black Beauty himself, the tale offers an animal’s perspective of the world, and highlights the thoughtless, even cruel treatment animals endured during that period.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
This summary of the Black Beauty story is profusely illustrated with full-color drawings of horses, clothing, and artifacts of Victorian England. An introduction explains the context of the story and its impact on the care and treatment of horses. Ten short chapters follow, carefully capturing the essence of the original book. Sidebars feature photographs and illustrations with descriptions of words and terms that may not be familiar to young readers. A glossary in the back contributes to further understanding. Some biographical information about Sewell is included. This is a good introduction to both the study of horses and the enjoyment of horse stories. 2000, DK, Ages 7 to 10, $12.95 and $3.95. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer
The historical sidebars in Black Beauty mostly deal with what English life in the nineteenth century was like, but a few specifically deal with horses. They can be distracting if you're trying to follow the story. Unless you're really interested in details of that time period, don't think that this book is any better than another version, although the illustrations might make it easier for younger readers to enjoy, $17.99 Trade pb. Illus. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2000, Viking/Penguin Putnam, 208p, $25.99. Ages 11 to 14. Reviewer: Kristen Moreland, Teen Reviewer SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Anna Sewell's classic novel begins with Black Beauty's early days as a colt at his mother's side and follows him through each of his masters and jobs. It is written in a charmingly sophisticated voice that is easier for listeners to understand than to read; the language, tone, and sentence structure are a bit antiquated, suiting the time period in which the story was first published in 1877. Moral lessons are abundant in this tale told from the horse's point of view. A great deal of information about the nature and abilities of horses is imparted in a surprisingly grim first person narrative. The casual cruelty of man toward beast is expounded throughout the captivating story. Each character, man or horse, is compellingly and earnestly voiced by narrator Simon Vance. Sure to be popular with horse lovers.-Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
Sterling Unabridged Classics
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.90(d)
1020L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

My Early Home

The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it. Some shady trees leaned over it, and rushes and water lilies grew at the deep end. Over the hedge on one side we looked into a plowed field, and on the other we looked over a gate at our master's house, which stood by the roadside. At the top of the meadow was a plantation of fir trees, and at the bottom a running brook overhung by a steep bank.

While I was young I lived upon my mother's milk, as I could not eat grass. In the daytime I ran by her side, and at night I lay down close by her. When it was hot we used to stand by the pond in the shade of the trees, and when it was cold we had a nice warm shed near the plantation.

As soon as I was old enough to eat grass, my mother used to go out to work in the daytime and come back in the evening.

There were six young colts in the meadow besides me. They were older than I was; some were nearly as large as grown-up horses. I used to run with them, and had great fun; we used to gallop all together round and round the field, as hard as we could go. Sometimes we had rather rough play, for they would frequently bite and kick as well as gallop.

One day, when there was a good deal of kicking, my mother whinnied to me to come to her, and then she said:

"I wish you to pay attention to what I am going to say to you. The colts who live here are very good colts, but they are carthorse colts and, of course, they have not learned manners. You have been well bred and well born; your father has a great name in these parts, and your grandfather won the cup two years at the Newmarket races. Your grandmother had the sweetest temper ofany horse I ever knew, and I think you have never seen me kick or bite. I hope you will grow up gentle and good, and never learn bad ways; do your work with a good will, lift your feet up well when you trot, and never bite or kick even in play."

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.

Our master was a good, kind man. He gave us good food, good lodging, and kind words; he spoke as kindly to us as he did to his little children. We were all fond of him, and my mother loved him very much. When she saw him at the gate, she would neigh with joy, and trot up to him. He would pat and stroke her and say, "Well, old Pet, and how is your little Darkie?" I was a dull black, so he called me Darkie, then he would give me a piece of bread, which was very good, and sometimes he brought a carrot for my mother. All the horses would come to him, but I think we were his favorites. My mother always took him to the town on a market day in a light gig.

There was a plowboy, Dick, who sometimes came into our field to pluck blackberries from the hedge. When he had eaten all he wanted, he would have what he called fun with the colts, throwing stones and sticks at them to make them gallop. We did not much mind him, for we could gallop off, but sometimes a stone would hit and hurt us.

One day he was at this game and did not know that the master was in the next field, but he was there, watching what was going on. Over the hedge he jumped in a snap, and catching Dick by the arm, he gave him such a box on the ear as made him roar with the pain and surprise. As soon as we saw the master, we trotted up nearer to see what went on.

"Bad boy!" he said. "Bad boy to chase the colts! This is not the first time, nor the second, but it shall be the last. There--take your money and go home. I shall not want you on my farm again." So we never saw Dick anymore. Old Daniel, the man who looked after the horses, was just as gentle as our master, so we were well off.


The Hunt

I was two years old when a circumstance happened which I have never forgotten. It was early in the spring; there had been a little frost in the night, and a light mist still hung over the plantations and meadows. I and the other colts were feeding at the lower part of the field when we heard, quite in the distance, what sounded like the cry of dogs. The oldest of the colts raised his head, pricked his ears, and said, "There are the hounds!" and immediately cantered off, followed by the rest of us to the upper part of the field, where we could look over the hedge and see several fields beyond. My mother and an old riding horse of our master's were also standing near, and seemed to know all about it.

"They have found a hare," said my mother, "and if they come this way we shall see the hunt."

And soon the dogs were all tearing down the field of young wheat next to ours. I never heard such a noise as they made. They did not bark, nor howl, nor whine, but kept on a "yo! yo, o, o! yo! yo, o, o!" at the top of their voices. After them came a number of men on horseback, some of them in green coats, all galloping as fast as they could. The old horse snorted and looked eagerly after them, and we young colts wanted to be galloping with them, but they were soon away into the fields lower down. Here it seemed as if they had come to a stand; the dogs left off barking and ran about every way with their noses to the ground.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

Anna Sewell (1820-78) was born in Norfolk, England. Disabled through illness, she grew to rely on a horse and carriage for mobility. Black Beauty was inspired by her experiences, and remains one of the world's favorite animal stories.

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Black Beauty (Illustrated Classics for Children) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
ChefReiss More than 1 year ago
This is one of many Leatherbound Classics that I have purchased and it like the others does not disappoint. Beautiful leather cover makes this classic tale even more appealing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love Black Beauty!! The funny thing is, is that i actually have a horse that looks just like Black Beauty. When the movie came out, i compared my horse when he was two years old to Beauty when he was two years old and they looked exactly the same!!! Same white on the same foot and star on his nose. So i named my horse Black Beauty because of how great the book and movie are!!!!! sometimes i watch the movie in my stables with my horse so he can see what he looks like. Enough about me, but the book is tromendous. It actually includes conversations inbetween the horses. Even though the movie doesnt, its just as good so READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Btw im 12 so i bet this book is good for people my age. Posted on August 12, 2013
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best stories. Grandson enjoyed it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like horses and the color black and Black Beauty is my favorite book and one of the best novels by Anna Sewell. He is a beautiful black animal with a white star on his forehead and one white foot and in the novel of Black Beauty, Black Beauty's white foot was usually always on the back in the left and another second best of Black Beauty's white foot was on the front in the right and that's where I like to see Black Beauty's white foot and it's perfect for the best on the front in the right, and the two hind legs on the left and the right and that's how you like Black Beauty and the best choices. My favorite character in this book is Joe Green, because at the end of Black Beauty, Joe becomes a man and one lucky day, he finds that horse he used to care for and gets excited when he said he had almost killed him so many nearly ten years ago at Squire Gordon's farm after coming back from the Doctor's. This is the best one illustrated by Scott McKowen because there is five black and white illustrations in this book of Black Beauty as a colt with his mother Duchess, Rob Roy or a differnt horse either on a hunt or Lady Anne on Black Beauty, Black Beauty getting shoes for the first time, A kind man leads Black Beauty to his new home and Black Beauty as a cab horse and if there were some other 16 illustrations of 12 black and white illustrations and 4 color illustrations in this book, that would make it the best but, there would be like some of the Full Page Illustrations are: One of the riders was getting out of the water, covered with mud the other lay quite still John rode me first slowly, then a trot, then a canter ¿The children did not know when they had enough, so I just pitched them off backwards¿ An oak fell right across the road just before us Safe in the yard, he slipped the scarf off my eyes and shouted, ¿Here, somebody! take this horse while I go back for the other¿ Going for the doctor The carter was shouting and flogging the horses unmercifully With scarcely a pause Lizzie took the leap, stumbled among the rough clouds, and fell I uttered no sound, but just stood there and listened Ginger and I neighed to each other as I was led off by Robert The farrier examined my feet one by one ¿He looked me all over¿ ¿My dear master was cheering on his comrades when one of the balls, whizzing close to my head, struck him¿ I galloped across the meadow out of sheer spirits at being free ¿Just get into this cab, and I¿ll drive you safe to the hospital,¿ said Jerry My groom began patting me as if he were quite overjoyed at seeing me again That was talking about some of the black and white illustrations by Edwin John Prittie, the four color illustrations by Edward F. Cortese and two of the color illustrations of Going for the doctor and 'He looked me all over' by Percy F. Spence and that would make it just for the perfect book illustrated by Scott McKowen if you imagined it in your head to make it go with the book. My best favorite books of Black Beauty are Illustrated by Neil Reed: published by Prospero books in 2001, Illustrated by Scott McKowen, Illustrated by Ian Andrew, Adapted by June Brigman & Roy Richardson, Adapted by Lisa Church and Illustrated by Lucy Corvino, Illustrated in black and white by Edwin John Prittie and four color illustrations by Edward F. Cortese, Illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg: Illustrated Junior Library copyright in 1995, Adapted by Laura F. Marsh, Illustrated by William Geldart and Illustrated by G. P. Micklewright and that's my best ten favorite books of Black Beauty to read and look at in Baddeck to read over the summer and that's how you love the best ten books of Black Beauty, as if you could live in all of them. But the best ones to be in are Illustrated by Neil Reed: published by Prospero books in 2001, Illustrated by Scott McKowen, Illustrated by Ian Andrew, Adapted by June Brigman & Roy Richardson, Adapted by Lisa Church and Illustrated by Lucy Corvino, Illustrate
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cheak out my you tube. Ayla washburn. THX
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book I have read has been my favourite book since I was nine years of age
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best classics i have ever read in my entire life the best thing evet
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name skyblaze pelt color white like snow eye color deep dark blue shes easy as he.ll to spot cuz of her white fur age never ask a women their age anything else just ask oh mate no kits if i dont jave a mate then i dont have kits crush idk yet
bookworm-reader More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Heartbreaking but wonderful at the same time. It's a lovely/horrid story about Black Beauty and his many owners. Some nice, some horrible. I've always loved the movie and it did the book justice, in my eyes.It has become one of my favorite books and I am so glad I got it!
Beautiful_Book_Collector More than 1 year ago
The outside is beautiful. The inside is beautiful. The pictures are beautiful. This book is perfect......
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to res 8
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CarolineCarnivorous More than 1 year ago
I have never really been interested in horses, but I am interested in old children's books - So I decided to try out this classic! The book comes in a compact, nice blue design - Not too ''childish'' as this book wasn't originally supposed to be a children's book. The story follows the horse Black Beauty throughout his whole life, from young to old. Each part of the book is basically his time with each owner. There are good times, and there are bad times. And each chapter has a lesson about kindness, animal welfare and so on. I would say that this book is more suitable for older readers than children, since it can be a little too complicated for a child. Though I would very much recommend this to young horse lovers! You really feel with Black Beauty and realize that animals have feelings too! This book is really a good read that is not too heavy, and you can share the experience with your children as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
k9spirit More than 1 year ago
In a word stunning!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We are only five chapters in, but my kids (5yr-girl;7yr-boy) love it so far :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love his book though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book,it taught me alot about animal rights. It was very moving.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book youll just die for the books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
peace_love_books_333 More than 1 year ago
This well-written book really makes you see the pain and joy animals might see! I haven't read it in a while, so I can't give the most detailed review, but the experience of reading Black Beauty has totally stayed with me.