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Children's LiteratureThree compelling horses are the subjects in the classic stories packaged in this entertaining boxed set. But the horses, noble, loyal and dignified as they are, are not the only subjects of these well worn and well loved classics. The humans who are keen on them each have an amazing story as well. Horses and humans—their stories are intertwined. In National Velvet, a teenager wins her horse in a raffle for a shilling. It is safe to say that Velvet is obsessed with her horse. In My Friend Flicka, 10-year- old Ken directs all his energy and attention to developing a friendship with the horse of his dreams. Black Beauty is a prince of a horse owned by many masters in the course of his destiny. He is the narrator of the fortunes and misfortunes he endures during his lifetime. All three stories are poignant. Readers will easily be transported to Ken's ranch, Velvet's home in the English countryside, and Black Beauty's adventures in London and its environs. All three books leave a lasting impression on the reader. National Velvet is a bit more difficult to read than the others because the dialogue features British vocabulary and slang that may be unfamiliar to some readers. A necklace with three horses posing differently is included with this boxed set. 2003, HarperFestival/HarperCollins, Ages 8 up.
—Jeanne K. Pettenati, J.D.