Cover image for Black Beauty : the autobiography of a horse
Title:
Black Beauty : the autobiography of a horse
Author:
Sewell, Anna, 1820-1878.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Grosset & Dunlap, [1945]

©1945
Physical Description:
301 pages : some color illustrations ; 23 cm.
Summary:
A horse in nineteenth-century England recounts his experiences with both good and bad masters.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780448409429
Format :
Book

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Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Marilla Free Library X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

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.


Author Notes

Anna Sewell, March 30, 1820 - April 25, 1878 Anna Sewell was on March 30, 1820 in Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. She was raised a Quaker by her father a bank manager and her mother, a children's novelist. At the age of fourteen, Sewell hurt her knee during a fall and the injury never healed right. Even though she could not walk well, she could still ride horses and drive a horse drawn buggy. It was this form of freedom that sparked her concern for the welfare of horses.

She wrote "Black Beauty" when she was in her fifties, but died a year after it was published in 1877. While she never earned much from the book while she was alive, after her death, the novel snowballed into a something extraordinary. The book was about the abuses horses sustained in their lifetimes, but was told from the unique viewpoint of the horse. Even though the book was intended for children, it impacted all generations and caused everyone who read it to take a look at the inhumane treatment horses received. In the one hundred plus years since "Black Beauty" had been published, over 30 million copies have been printed. At least eight motion pictures have been made based on the novel and it is a well known children's classic.

Anna Sewell died on April 25, 1878 in Old Catton, Norfolk.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5 Sewell's classic tale of ahorse's fortunes and adversities has been a favorite since it was written over 100 years ago. Now McKinley offers a new abridgment which, while honing the original almost to spareness, loses none of the beauty of Sewell's poetic prose. Although some of the less important incidents and descriptive passages have necessarily been omitted, there is still every essential element of the plot here to delight readers as Black Beauty's story unfolds. But it is Jeffers' illustrations (pen-and-ink with watercolor wash) that bring this book to a level above the ordinary. Intensely yet sensitively wrought, there is a fine attention to detail, down to veins and quivering nostrils. The horses are never allowed to descend to the anthropomorphic tone of the text, and although Jeffers' human portrayals suffer by comparison with their equine counterparts, they are nonetheless keenly done. Given the demand for simpler versions of children's classics, this one won't stay on the shelf long; it is wonderful as a read-aloud, or for independent readers. Kathleen Brachmann, Highland Park Public Library, Ill. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

My Early Home The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it. Some shady trees leaned over it, and rushes and water lilies grew at the deep end. Over the hedge on one side we looked into a plowed field, and on the other we looked over a gate at our master's house, which stood by the roadside. At the top of the meadow was a plantation of fir trees, and at the bottom a running brook overhung by a steep bank. While I was young I lived upon my mother's milk, as I could not eat grass. In the daytime I ran by her side, and at night I lay down close by her. When it was hot we used to stand by the pond in the shade of the trees, and when it was cold we had a nice warm shed near the plantation. As soon as I was old enough to eat grass, my mother used to go out to work in the daytime and come back in the evening. There were six young colts in the meadow besides me. They were older than I was; some were nearly as large as grown-up horses. I used to run with them, and had great fun; we used to gallop all together round and round the field, as hard as we could go. Sometimes we had rather rough play, for they would frequently bite and kick as well as gallop. One day, when there was a good deal of kicking, my mother whinnied to me to come to her, and then she said: "I wish you to pay attention to what I am going to say to you. The colts who live here are very good colts, but they are carthorse colts and, of course, they have not learned manners. You have been well bred and well born; your father has a great name in these parts, and your grandfather won the cup two years at the Newmarket races. Your grandmother had the sweetest temper of any horse I ever knew, and I think you have never seen me kick or bite. I hope you will grow up gentle and good, and never learn bad ways; do your work with a good will, lift your feet up well when you trot, and never bite or kick even in play." I have never forgotten my mother's advice. I knew she was a wise old horse, and our master thought a great deal of her. Her name was Duchess, but he often called her Pet. Our master was a good, kind man. He gave us good food, good lodging, and kind words; he spoke as kindly to us as he did to his little children. We were all fond of him, and my mother loved him very much. When she saw him at the gate, she would neigh with joy, and trot up to him. He would pat and stroke her and say, "Well, old Pet, and how is your little Darkie?" I was a dull black, so he called me Darkie, then he would give me a piece of bread, which was very good, and sometimes he brought a carrot for my mother. All the horses would come to him, but I think we were his favorites. My mother always took him to the town on a market day in a light gig. There was a plowboy, Dick, who sometimes came into our field to pluck blackberries from the hedge. When he had eaten all he wanted, he would have what he called fun with the colts, throwing stones and sticks at them to make them gallop. We did not much mind him, for we could gallop off, but sometimes a stone would hit and hurt us. One day he was at this game and did not know that the master was in the next field, but he was there, watching what was going on. Over the hedge he jumped in a snap, and catching Dick by the arm, he gave him such a box on the ear as made him roar with the pain and surprise. As soon as we saw the master, we trotted up nearer to see what went on. "Bad boy!" he said. "Bad boy to chase the colts! This is not the first time, nor the second, but it shall be the last. There--take your money and go home. I shall not want you on my farm again." So we never saw Dick anymore. Old Daniel, the man who looked after the horses, was just as gentle as our master, so we were well off. CHAPTER 2 The Hunt I was two years old when a circumstance happened which I have never forgotten. It was early in the spring; there had been a little frost in the night, and a light mist still hung over the plantations and meadows. I and the other colts were feeding at the lower part of the field when we heard, quite in the distance, what sounded like the cry of dogs. The oldest of the colts raised his head, pricked his ears, and said, "There are the hounds!" and immediately cantered off, followed by the rest of us to the upper part of the field, where we could look over the hedge and see several fields beyond. My mother and an old riding horse of our master's were also standing near, and seemed to know all about it. "They have found a hare," said my mother, "and if they come this way we shall see the hunt." And soon the dogs were all tearing down the field of young wheat next to ours. I never heard such a noise as they made. They did not bark, nor howl, nor whine, but kept on a "yo! yo, o, o! yo! yo, o, o!" at the top of their voices. After them came a number of men on horseback, some of them in green coats, all galloping as fast as they could. The old horse snorted and looked eagerly after them, and we young colts wanted to be galloping with them, but they were soon away into the fields lower down. Here it seemed as if they had come to a stand; the dogs left off barking and ran about every way with their noses to the ground. Excerpted from Black Beauty by Anna Sewell All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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