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.
A handsome horse with a glossy black coat and a pretty white star on his forehead, Black Beauty seems to lead a charmed life. Although his mother warns him that there are 'bad, cruel men' in the world, he begins his life in a happy home, with a friendly groom to look after him and plenty to eat. However, when a change of circumstances means that he is sold, he soon discovers the truth of his mother's words. Anna Sewell's moving story is one of the best-loved animal adventures ever written.
Anna Sewell was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, on March 30, 1820. Brought up in a strict Quaker family, Anna developed a strong interest in horses as a young girl. But a crippling bone disease and a fall in 1834 left her an invalid for most of her life. By her mid-thirties she was severely lame and could only get around in a pony cart, and characteristically she would never use a whip on the animal. In 1871, she was told she had eighteen months to live, and by the end of that year, she had begun her book, Black Beauty, hoping it might make people a little kinder to their faithful horses. Although she was seriously ill, she lived long enough to finish her book and see it published in 1877. On April 25, 1878, she died at her home in Old Catton near Norwich, England. Black Beauty, an enormous success from its first appearance, was soon adopted by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and used to improve the conditions of horses everywhere.
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