A horse is a horse of course unless of course the horse is Black Beauty. Animal-loving children have been devoted to Black Beauty
throughout this century, and no doubt will continue through the next. Although Anna Sewell's classic paints a clear picture of turn-of-the-century London, its message is universal and timeless: animals will serve humans well if they are treated with consideration and kindness.
Black Beauty tells the story of the horse's own long and varied life, from a well-born colt in a pleasant meadow to an elegant carriage horse for a gentleman to a painfully overworked cab horse. Throughout, Sewell rails--in a gentle, 19th-century way--against animal maltreatment. Young readers will follow Black Beauty's fortunes, good and bad, with gentle masters as well as cruel. Children can easily make the leap from horse-human relationships to human-human relationships, and begin to understand how their own consideration of others may be a benefit to all. (Ages 9 to 12)
A handsome foal with promising beginnings is passed from owner to owner and soon learns the particular cruelties of hard masters and the rich in this horse story. The audio version, narrated by Martin Jarvis, abridges and brings alive the high points of Sewell's classic. --Midwest Book Review