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Black Beauty (Puffin Classics) [Paperback]

Our Price $ 5.09  
Retail Value $ 5.99  
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Item Number 424073  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   262
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.96" Width: 5.2" Height: 0.84"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2008
Publisher   Penguin Group USA
Age  8-12
ISBN  0141321032  
EAN  9780141321035  

Availability  0 units.

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Item Description...
A horse in nineteenth-century England recounts his experience with both good and bad masters.

Publishers Description
Puffin Classics: the stories you love, the name you trust.
The handsome horse Black Beauty begins his life in a happy home, until a change of circumstances leads him to learn about a crueler side of life. "Black Beauty "is the ultimate classic novel for horse fans of all ages. Our Puffin Classics edition features an introduction by award-winning author Meg Rosoff.

Buy Black Beauty (Puffin Classics) by Anna Sewell & Charlotte Woodyatt Hough from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780141321035 & 0141321032

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More About Anna Sewell & Charlotte Woodyatt Hough

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Anna Sewell was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, on March 30, 1820. Brought up in a strict Quaker family, Anna developed a strong interest in horses as a young girl. But a crippling bone disease and a fall in 1834 left her an invalid for most of her life. By her mid-thirties she was severely lame and could only get around in a pony cart, and characteristically she would never use a whip on the animal. In 1871, she was told she had eighteen months to live, and by the end of that year, she had begun her book, Black Beauty, hoping it might make people a little kinder to their faithful horses. Although she was seriously ill, she lived long enough to finish her book and see it published in 1877. On April 25, 1878, she died at her home in Old Catton near Norwich, England. Black Beauty, an enormous success from its first appearance, was soon adopted by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and used to improve the conditions of horses everywhere.

Anna Sewell lived in Yarmouth. Anna Sewell was born in 1820 and died in 1878.

Anna Sewell has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Dover Classic Stories Coloring Book

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
beautifully done work of black beauty  May 18, 2010
black beauty is a thrilling adventure for children. it is a great story of love
"They Do Not Suffer Less Because They Have No Words..."  Feb 27, 2010
Animal books that are told from the creature's point of view (whether cat, dog, horse, or some other species entirely) are a dime a dozen these days, but "Black Beauty," was the first book of its kind to use this technique and is thus the forerunner to all animal stories that came after it. Most people are unaware that Anna Sewell broke new literary ground when she wrote "Black Beauty" in the style of an autobiography, though ironically she never meant it to be a children's story at all. Instead she intended that it would be read by those that work with horses: "to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses."

Beauty is one of several names given to the horse that grows throughout the story from a young colt in a farmyard to an elderly stallion enjoying his retirement, chronicling all his experiences in between, both good and bad. These include being the horse of a squire, a cabby, a gentleman and a cart driver among others, as well as events that are probably known even to those who haven't read the book, such as the fire in the barn and the washed-out bridge.

Throughout his life he meets several other horses such as cheerful Merrylegs and feisty Ginger who recount their stories to him; and it's difficult not to get a little choked up when it comes to Ginger and her tragic tale, especially when she tells Beauty at their final meeting: "you are the only friend I ever had." For many children, Ginger's story may well have been their first experience with the portrayal of death in a story - I know it was mine, and I never forgot it.

Since being published in 1877, the story has lost none of its power, and the image of a black horse with a white star on his forehead is universally recognized as the iconic Black Beauty. Not only this, but the novel is credited with the abolishment of the bearing rein, a device that was popular in the Victorian age but which damaged horses' necks by forcing them upright at an unnatural angle, and is also believed to have made a difference in reducing the taxicab licence fee of the time, (something that was often exploited by those that hired out cabbies to drivers), not to mention heightening the awareness of animal cruelty at a time when animal welfare simply didn't exist.

As such "Black Beauty" can be described as the first animal rights book, told in first-person narrative from the (literal) horse's mouth, criticizing things such as docking (that is, cutting off horse's tails), the aforementioned bearing reins, and the long, hard hours of work that horses had to endure. The trick of it though, is that the issues never seem particularly moralizing or heavy-handed because it's all told by the horses themselves. It doesn't take much of a stretch of the imagination to assume that if horses were capable of talking to each other, they would discuss the cruelties and kindnesses that human beings mete out upon them.

This is effectively portrayed by the sheer confusion of the animals as to why humans act in certain ways; such as Beauty pondering why human beings endanger both themselves and their horses in fox hunting, or why so much pain is inflicted on animals for the sake of fashion, asking: "What right have they to torment and disfigure God's creatures?" Likewise, the first-person narrative gives a perspective on the life of a horse that had probably never occurred to Sewell's original audience (or indeed, her first-time contemporary readers), has when Beauty discusses how it feels to wear a bit:

"Those who have never had a bit in their mouths cannot think how bad it feels. A great piece of cold hard steel as thick as a man's finger is pushed into one's mouth, between one's teeth and over one's tongue. It ends come out at the corner of your mouth and are held fast there by straps over your head, under your throat, round your nose, and under your chin, so that in no way in the world can you get rid of the nasty hard thing."

Towards the end of the book, it does start to get slightly more preachy, mainly due to the fact that Sewell begins to dwell on issues such as alcohol, elections and religion that have no bearing on the horses at all, but are merely being discussed by the humans around them. However, this aspect is thankfully minor and doesn't detract too much from Beauty's own story.

I have a particular soft-spot for "Black Beauty" considering Anna Sewell is lurking up in my family tree somewhere (on my grandmother's side), and the fact that the memories of reading this book as a child have always stayed with me. This is an essential book for any children's library in order to cultivate empathy for the animal kingdom, but is also valuable reading for an adult as well, not just for the ur-example of an animal tale, but as a thoughtful, bittersweet and well-researched look into the life of man's second-best friend.

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