My review of Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Black Beauty: The Autobiography of a Horse tells the life of a horse from being a young colt running carefree through the fields through his working days pulling a cab. Along the way he talks about his various masters and companion horses at each stop of his life. This edition contains a color watercolor print at the beginning and black and white sketches by Wesley Dennis at each chapter head.
A rather interesting tale of a horse as he grows up and grows old. Somehow I had missed this book when I was a kid. But I’ve been reading my dad’s old copy to my daughter, a chapter a night when I’m off, and we’ve both enjoyed it.
It’s not a complicated book, but I did have to explain some of the concepts to her as it’s set in a time very technologically different than what she is used to. The nature of man hasn’t changed though, so this is still a good book for children to see morality at play in a day to day way. The concept of a ‘day of rest’ was well done here. Talking about it in church they rarely delve into the physical and psychological necessity of it. Explaining why someone may want to die rather than struggle on was something I don’t think she quite understood, though. Seeing the different characters treat the horses in different ways was a nice example of how people can do cruel things without really meaning to.
The story is well paced, and the chapters are short. The illustrations are black & white sketches with one color watercolor print at the front. The hardcover was formatted well with no obvious spelling/punctuation errors. For a 70 year old book it’s in good condition yet.