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Black Beauty

by Anna Sewell
295 pages, General Fiction
Reviewed by Jenny

The timeless story of a Victorian horse.

Plot

Black Beauty had the best training and consequently the best disposition. With his keen wit and his kindly nature, the young horse rose quickly among the nobility of the region. But his happiness was not to last. When his mistress grew ill the family had to move to better climes, and the horses had to be sold. From a noble house to taxi-cabs the fine horse was passed, sinking lower and lower in health, but keeping always his kindly outlook and gentle demeanor until, at last, a new day dawns and with a promising new future, Black Beauty finds himself young again.

Morality

While not explicitly Christian, the morals in Black Beauty are excellent. The horse himself upholds a strict standard of behavior between himself and fellow horses, and himself and his masters. While a horse, he is a model of genial behavior. Among the humans there are good characters and bad; between the lines, the book is a good commentary on life in Victorian times throughout the social strata.

Spiritual Content

There is little in the way of spiritual content, though one character is adamant about resting on the Sabbath.

Violence

On several occasions people are thrown from horses and sometimes severely hurt. Some characters are quite cruel with their horses, and in a way this book is also a commentary on gentle handling of one’s mount. Nothing is terribly graphic; the author had a way of being vivid without being graphic.

Drug and Alcohol Content

There are instances of drunkenness; one man gets thrown from a horse because he is inebriated.

Sexual Content

None.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

Some of the human characters are wont to swear, though it is only mentioned so. One of the horses says humans are ‘blockheads,’ and protests that bad words are meant for bad things.

Conclusion

While horses have largely gone out of style save among the wealthy, the story of Black Beauty remains timeless. With a wonderful cast of characters and a four-legged, stalwart hero all set against the backdrop of Victorian England, Anna Sewell’s famous story gallops to life across the pages. Heart-breaking and heart-lifting, this is a story one will never forget.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 8-10

Review Rating:

Average rating: 5 stars
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