"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)"
From Publishers Weekly
In this abridgement of Sewell's classic story, McKinley has managed nicely to retain Beauty's unique voice as well as the most-remembered stories, while making the text more accessible to younger readers. Jeffers's fine ink illustrations will satisfy even the most demanding of horse-lovers with her ability to capture each horse's personality. This version brings back the sharpness of the cruelty towards Beauty and his companions, and McKinley has rightfully retained the pain and the ugliness of some of the incidents. Children will still weep at the death of Ginger, and Jeffers's portrayal of the barn fire is quite frightening. It's an elegant edition, which will linger with readers until they are ready to tackle the original. (All ages
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