Black Beauty

Black Beauty was one of the first books I remember reading as a child.

As a child I loved the fact that the story was told from Beauty’s POV.

I’ve read that when Anna Sewell wrote Black Beauty she hoped to highlight the terrible conditions that horses worked under during her lifetime.

Anna Sewell

The book is a narration through Beauty’s life from a colt to old horse, and he goes from well loved pet at Squire Gordon’s to taxi cab horse to eventual retirement in the country.

I was eager to get in to the story. Perhaps because my first book for this challenge Born Free was still such a delight to read as an adult.

Sadly I did not get the same feeling with Black Beauty, and at times had to force myself to continue reading.

The story did not hold the same magic. It is well told, but Black Beauty is told in more simplistic language and therefore perhaps better suited to a younger audience.

I still felt sadness at the turns Beauty’s life took, and empathetic toward horses in general at a time when animal welfare was not known or cared about as it is today.

Black Beauty is in my opinion a great book for younger readers. There is a simple charm to the tale, and I can imagine that younger readers would still feel the magic I did at their age.

The book just doesn’t cross over well though for adult readers.

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  1. I remember Black Beauty from watching parts of it here and there in some stranger’s house … we had horses as we were travelling people … it was strange to me that they made a whole movie series about this one horse … at the same time I was mesmerized … because of the miracle of TV , that is … πŸ™‚ Love, cat.


  2. Jo I had much the same reaction when I re-read Black Beauty as an adult. I can see why I loved it as a child, but it just doesn’t have the same power any more. Oh well, there’s a place for books aimed at young readers – without them, how would we ever have become the booklovers we are? And let’s hope the magic continues for today’s children – if not with Black Beauty, with something much more modern.


  3. I loved reading the book as a child, it made quite an impact on me regarding the welfare of animals, but I think you are right – it is written in a simplistic way for children;, if I read it today it probably wouldn’t have the same effect on me.
    It’s still a wonderful book for children.


  4. I remember seeing this movie in the theater when I was a kid, but I can’t even remember the story now. I’m sorry it didn’t live up to your childhood memory. I hate then that happens.


  5. I bought the movie “Black Beauty” for my grandson when he was about 3 years old. After watching it, the first thing he did was draw a rough barn and start coloring it orange, red, and yellow. I ask why he was scribbling on his drawing and he said the barn was burning. We’ve watched the movie numerous times since then, but I always think of that drawing now when I think of black beauty. That particular scene had quite an impact on Jacob. I think my favorite ‘horse book’ as a child was “Little Black, A pony”. It’s been at least 45 years since I read the book, but I can still remember the story from my early childhood days. It really is amazing the impact that books can have on children, isn’t it? I think in 100 years from now, the old classics will still be around.


  6. I agree with you completely. I do also wonder if Black Beauty is so simplistic, is it *really* a good book for younger readers? Perhaps young readers deserve and can handle much more. I keep it on my library shelf because it is a classic, but I’ll have to do some surveys to see if the students who check it out today enjoy it as much as grown ups remember loving it themselves.


    1. I also wonder if it is a little bit of ‘the times they are a changing…’
      We – both adults and the younger set – are not so innocent as we were back then.


  7. I read Black Beauty and watched the movie, but preferred “The Black Stallion”. My mom is crazy about horses, so anything and everything about the animals was around me growing up. I wouldn’t feel too bad that it didn’t have the same “spark” for you now that it did back then. There is a time and place for everything that moves us in this life…that you actually picked it back up again says a lot. Keep going through your list – I KNOW you will find more like “Born Free” that still “do” it for ya! πŸ™‚


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