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Black Beauty

Overview

A handsome horse with a glossy black coat and a pretty white star on his forehead, Black Beauty seems to lead a charmed life. Although his mother warns him that there are 'bad, cruel men' in the world, he begins his life in a happy home, with a friendly groom to look after him and plenty to eat. However, when a change of circumstances means that he is sold, he soon discovers the truth of his mother's words. Anna Sewell's moving story is one of the best-loved animal adventures ...
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Overview

A handsome horse with a glossy black coat and a pretty white star on his forehead, Black Beauty seems to lead a charmed life. Although his mother warns him that there are 'bad, cruel men' in the world, he begins his life in a happy home, with a friendly groom to look after him and plenty to eat. However, when a change of circumstances means that he is sold, he soon discovers the truth of his mother's words. Anna Sewell's moving story is one of the best-loved animal adventures ever written.
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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
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)
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
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.
From the Publisher
 • "One of the greatest books ever narrated by a horse, with a fine message: be kind to animals, and they'll be kind to you." —Michael Morpurgo, Guardian
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Anna Sewell was born in 1820 in England. Around the age of 14, Sewell fell and injured her ankles. They didn't heal properly. From then on, she had trouble walking and relied on horses to take her where she needed to go. She loved horses and was grateful for them. Sewell was shocked to see how cruelly some people treated her favorite animal. In 1872, Sewell was told she had only a short time to live. She decided to write a book that would show the kind and loving nature of horses. That book, the only one she ever wrote, was Black Beauty. It has been considered a classic since it was published in 1877.

When she was younger, Jennifer Tanner loved to draw humorous comics about dogs who went on spectacular adventures through time and space, meeting alien creatures along the way. She's never lost that love for telling stories with pictures. She attended the Savannah College of Srt and Design where she received her degree in Sequential Art. Today she spends her time illustrating many comic books.

L. L. Owens has written more than 45 books of fiction and nonfiction for young readers, including American Justice: Seven Famous Trials of the 20th Century. She enjoys reading great books, cooking, and listening to music. Ms. Owens lives in Seattle, Washington, and loves to explore the Pacific Northwest.

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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 of any 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.

CHAPTER 2

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.
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Table of Contents

Part 1
1 My Early Home 3
2 The Hunt 6
3 My Breaking In 9
4 Birtwick Park 13
5 A Fair Start 16
6 Liberty 20
7 Ginger 22
8 Ginger's Story Continued 26
9 Merrylegs 30
10 A Talk in the Orchard 33
11 Plain Speaking 38
12 A Stormy Day 41
13 The Devil's Trade Mark 44
14 James Howard 47
15 The Old Ostler 50
16 The Fire 53
17 John Manly's Talk 57
18 Going for the Doctor 61
19 Only Ignorance 65
20 Joe Green 68
21 The Parting 71
Part 2
22 Earshall 77
23 A Strike For Liberty 81
24 The Lady Anne 84
25 Reuben Smith 90
26 How It Ended 94
27 Ruined And Going Down-Hill 97
28 A Job-Horse And His Drivers 100
29 Cockneys 104
30 A Thief 110
31 A Humbug 113
Part 3
32 A Horse Fair 119
33 A London Cab Horse 123
34 An Old War Horse 127
35 Jerry Barker 132
36 The Sunday Cab 138
37 The Golden Rule 143
38 Dolly and a Real Gentleman 147
39 Seedy Sam 151
40 Poor Ginger 155
41 The Butcher 158
42 The Election 161
43 A Friend in Need 163
44 Old Captain and his Successor 167
45 Jerry's New Year 171
Part 4
46 Jakes and the Lady 179
47 Hard Times 183
48 Farmer Thoroughgood and his Grandson Willie 187
49 My Last Home 191
Questions, Questions, Questions 195
About the Author, About the Illustrator 199
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