Black Beauty is like a Virginia Andrews book about horses. Just when you think Beauty’s life will be happy he is in danger of the knacker’s yard again. (Incidentally, I thought the knacker’s yard was somewhere full of old knickers when I was little, so my first reading of Black Beauty was rather confused, to say the least.) Beauty is a kindly chap of a horse who, no matter his situation, makes the best of things, and always treats his fellow humans and animals with respect. Are there lessons to be learnt from this? Of course! The book is positively stuffed with lessons, but the story is so compelling that the drip-feed of morality goes un-noticed – that is, until the last chapter is finished and you are outside waving a placard supporting animal rights. The plight of working horses and the financial hardship faced by their owners is meticulously described through Beauty’s eyes, and the result on publication was a huge wave of concern for animal welfare. This led to several reforms in the law, ending up both beneficial for horses and humans alike. What a fantastic legacy Anna Sewell left us. Black Beauty
Author: Anna Sewell
Beautiful fact one: As a child I cried buckets over the fate of Ginger, and drew a picture to tuck in the end pages of the book showing Black Beauty, Ginger, and Merrylegs all happy together in heaven! Beautiful fact two: I’ve twice been horse-riding (or rather, horse-sitting). Beautiful fact three: The first time I was aged five and hoisted up on a giant shire horse. Beautiful fact four: They didn’t fix the saddle properly so I ended up hanging off its tummy for most of the ride until someone noticed. Beautiful fact five: The board game ‘Buckaroo’ used to scare me silly. Probably still would!
Three A-Z Highlights for 'B'
Ellie Garratt warns us about the perils of Book-Bonking
Eliza at Just Twaddle ponders Boobs and Bras
Madeleine at Scribble and Edit talks about when to introduce a Back story