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National Velvet (Book and Charm) Paperback – May 28, 2002

3.7 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"A story which is at once breathlessly exciting and a delightful character study." ---"London Times"Put on your not-to-be-missed list." ---"The New Yorker"Some books are to be gobbled at a sitting. This is one." ---"Atlantic"The book is one that horse lovers of every age cannot fail to enjoy." ---"The New York Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Enid Bagnold, who died in 1981, is best know for National Velvet and for her play The Chalk Garden, both of which were made into movies.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Series: Charming Classics
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (May 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0694015792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0694015795
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Forget Elizabeth Taylor and her impossibly gorgeous wide mauve eyes. Forget Mickey Rooney. "National Velvet" has nothing to do with Hollywood, and everything to do with a microcosm of time, England between the Wars, in a working-class society that no longer exists.
The Brown family, staunchly working class, gets by on a pittance. The hugely obese mother, who misses nothing through her "hooded eyes," was once a world champion swimmer, the first woman to swim the English Channel. It is her spirit, her sense of competition and the right of women to step out of their structured lives, that has been passed down to her youngest daughter Velvet. And THAT is what this story is about: the strength of one young girl to rise above every restriction of her class and society, and to excel where no woman has ever excelled before.
So in one sense, yes, this is the story of a young girl and her love of a horse. And it is thrilling on that level. It is also the story of a society that cannot ever exist again, but that, for all its restrictions, was ruled by love of family and a strong sense of right and wrong. And third, it is the triumphant story, long before feminism was in vogue, of one small woman who overcomes centuries of prejudice to become a champion. What else does one need?
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Format: Paperback
The most remarkable aspect of National Velvet is that it was written in 1935. The story of a girl who pushes beyond her culture, age and social position to achieve unprecedented glory is told without condescension or preachifying. In this, it outstretches books of its own time, many more modern books and even its own movie. Enid Bagnold isn't trying to make a point, she is telling a story with wit, vivacity and considerable insight.
This lack of moralizing is due mostly to Ms Bagnold's characterizations. The most important of the characters--Mi, Velvet and Mrs. Brown--are portrayed as complete individuals with thoughts and flaws and attitudes that are a reflection not so much of their surroundings but of their innerselves. They are human, not representative.
The story moves quickly, apropos to a novel about a horse and a horse race. The dialog between the family members takes getting used to, being cryptic and more unsaid than said, as is typical with family communication. The average reader is confronted by unfamiliar vocabulary and references, which have to be accepted and then ignored. If this can be accomplished, the passion of Velvet will carry the reader through to the end.
Recommedation: Buy it.
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Format: Paperback
This novel is an amazing novel about Velvet, a 14 year old girl, and a young, green, piebald (a spotted/two colored horse) that she wins. This story is not that exciting at the beginning as it introduces you to Velvet's and her family's personalities and daily life. The book becomes more alive when Velvet hears that a horse is being given away by raffle. Velvet quickly gathers all the money that she has and buys a ticket for the raffle. Amazingly the wining raffle ticket is Velvets' and she wins the piebald. After showing him is a typical/normal show, Velvet realizes he is not meant for those types of shows and decides to go bigger. After seeing how high the piebald can jump, Velvet chooses to train the piebald for the Grand National, the biggest steeplechase in the world. Throughout the whole book there are disappointing parts and parts where you smile all over. This book is like a sister to the classic novel Black Beauty. Overall National Velvet is a book for horse lovers of all ages to read; in fact it is a book everyone should read.
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Format: Paperback
I received this book when I was 9, loved it immediately, and kept it on my bookshelf always. I'm almost 40 now and just reread it (it's one of my "comfort" books) and was once again blown away by the beauty and astonishing metaphors of Bagnold's prose.

She is a lovely writer. I wish I could write as well as her. Our window into the Brown family is clear and uncluttered; we get to watch as the girls relate to each other, speak in their own family shorthand, deal with their similarities and differences. I adore the way the family accepts each other - each with their own quirks and peculiarities. Velvet, with her profound love of horses and her very 14-year-old imagination. Merry immersed in the world of canaries. Edwina on the brink of adulthood. Mally, Velvet's closest friend, sharing candy bars and secret plans.

I was such a girl myself, with my own imaginary stable of mounts... but my appreciation of the book goes beyond a recognition of similarity; Enid Bagnold simply writes with a sophistication few writers for young adults share... with no condecension and no need for explanation.
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