Friday, January 29, 2010

Black Beauty, a Beautiful Book

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell is a classic young adult book. It was first published in 1877. Then is was a commentary on the treatment of horses in Victorian England. It now reads as a historic fiction book narrated by a horse. I have owned a beautiful copy of this book for years, but until this last week had not read they story. Having watched Black Beauty, I knew the storyline and not. However I was charmed by the simplistic narration of Black Beauty. Quite honestly, the story was a charming book.


Black Beauty follows the life of a horse as he progresses through multiple owners in Victorian England. We meet this horse as a colt and follow him through his adventures as he observes the society and people around him. His commentary discusses the treatment of horses and how fashionable society affected that treatment. Living in both the country and in London, he encounters both kind and brutal owners. He also develops relationships with horses and weaves their stories into his own narrative.


This book is part of the 451 challenge list. That is why I read it and I am thrilled that I spend a few hours in the mind of black beauty. This lovely book could be read by almost anyone from the high ability 2nd grade (8 years old) reader through adults. As a fan of historic fiction, I appreciated the peek into the English society of Black Beauty’s era. If one loves horses, this book would also be an enjoyable read. The third kind of prospective reader would be one who enjoys political commentary. Just as Alice in Wonderland was commentary of that day’s age. Anna Sewell wove many observations about societal norms in Black Beauty’s narration, but leaves conclusions to be formed in the reader’s mind.

This book is one of the 451 Challenge 2010.


  1. I have not seen the movie nor read the book. This seems like an interesting classic that I will like to read....

  2. I really LOVED this book when I was young, and I'd like to re-read it someday.

  3. I haven't read this since I was very young and your review just brought back fond memories of it. I used to have an older, illustrated edition. I ought to pull it out and read it again, if I can find it!

  4. My edition is also quite old. I have a lovely 1945 hardback edition. I think it added to the charm.

  5. I have always been interested in reading this one. Thanks for the great recommendation