We often talk about teaching children values, but in most cases children's literature is insipid and of no lasting value. BLACK BEAUTY, however, is both valuable as art and valuable for the virtues it teaches: kindness, common sense, and helping those who cannot help themselves. The book is well written in clean prose. It does not over reach the "reading child," nor does it talk down to him. And although it is touching and occasionally sad, it is not in the least sentimental.
The story, of course, is about Black Beauty, a handsome horse who is born and raised in happy circumstances. But in Victorian England horses were used much as we use cars today: they were things to be bought and sold and then gotten rid of when they were no longer useful. Black Beauty is first sold to a good home, but as time passes he is sold again and again--and not always to people who treat him kindly or even to those who give him common care.
There are adventures aplenty, like a stable fire and a dangerous bridge; there are many memorable characters, like the horse Ginger and the kind cabbie Jerry. All of them are seen from Black Beauty's point of view, and beautifully, perfectly described. My mother read this book to me, and as soon as I could I was anxious to read it myself; now, some thirty years later I have stumbled once more upon it. And I can honestly say that it lives up to my memory: it is a fine book, and one that every parent should place in the hands of their children. Strongly recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer