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, ni......more
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, nineteenth-century manner—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.
Anna Sewell was born in 1820 into a Quaker family whose respect for horses was out of step with the common view of the time, that animals should be worked until they dropped. Disabled in a fall at age fourteen, she lived all her life with her parents but became an expert carriage driver and, as editor and stern critic, helped her mother, Mary Wright Sewell, become a successful author of evangelical children’s books. She wrote Black Beauty, her only book, in the last years of her life, as a plea for more humane treatment of horses. She died in 1878, a year after the novel was published to wide acclaim.
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