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Overview

"The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it... 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." So begins the story of Black Beauty, a sensitive and intelligent horse who shares with us a lifetime of his feelings, hopes, and dreams. Sadly, the idyllic existence of a colt frolicking in the fields with his mother was, for Beauty, to be a fleeting one. Despite his hard work and devotion to his masters, Beauty falls upon hard times. At the hands of various owners - some gentle, some thoughtless, some downright brutal - he comes to learn a painful lesson: that just as a horse's life can be filled with tenderness, it can be also be filled with injustice and cruelty.

Throughout it all, the spirited and noble thoroughbred keeps his strength and good temper. This beautiful, moving story of Black Beauty's search for love and kindness, told from the horse's point of view, will have you looking at all animals in a different way. This handsome edition, with charming illustrations by Scott McKowen, is sure to find a treasured place in your own family's library. Book club questions by noted educator Arthur Pober, Ed.D., further enhance the reading experience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780789454614
Publisher: DK
Publication date: 06/28/2000
Series: Read & Listen Books Series
Pages: 64
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 12.50(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Anna Sewell (1820-1878) was an English novelist. 'Black Beauty' (1877) was her only published work; with over 50 million copies sold, it is one of the best-selling books of all time.

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. Yourgrandmother 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 Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents

Part 1
1My Early Home3
2The Hunt6
3My Breaking In9
4Birtwick Park13
5A Fair Start16
6Liberty20
7Ginger22
8Ginger's Story Continued26
9Merrylegs30
10A Talk in the Orchard33
11Plain Speaking38
12A Stormy Day41
13The Devil's Trade Mark44
14James Howard47
15The Old Ostler50
16The Fire53
17John Manly's Talk57
18Going for the Doctor61
19Only Ignorance65
20Joe Green68
21The Parting71
Part 2
22Earshall77
23A Strike For Liberty81
24The Lady Anne84
25Reuben Smith90
26How It Ended94
27Ruined And Going Down-Hill97
28A Job-Horse And His Drivers100
29Cockneys104
30A Thief110
31A Humbug113
Part 3
32A Horse Fair119
33A London Cab Horse123
34An Old War Horse127
35Jerry Barker132
36The Sunday Cab138
37The Golden Rule143
38Dolly and a Real Gentleman147
39Seedy Sam151
40Poor Ginger155
41The Butcher158
42The Election161
43A Friend in Need163
44Old Captain and his Successor167
45Jerry's New Year171
Part 4
46Jakes and the Lady179
47Hard Times183
48Farmer Thoroughgood and his Grandson Willie187
49My Last Home191
Questions, Questions, Questions195
About the Author, About the Illustrator199

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"[Simon Vance's] narration makes a heartfelt story into a listening experience for the family to share together." —-AudioFile

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