The Autobiography of a Horse
With fifty million copies sold, Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time. Its message is universal and timeless: animals will serve humans well if they are treated well. While promoting animal welfare, Black Beauty also teaches how to treat people with kindness, sympathy, and respect. The tale has been a favorite with animal-loving children for over a century. Black Beauty was recently listed at number 58 on the BBC's survey The Big Read.
In a brisk adaptation of Anna Sewell's 1877 animal story, Black Beauty recounts his early life on a farm and the accident that leads him to become a work horse in London, where he is abused by his masters. Brown illustrates in a rich, pastoral style, capturing pivotal events that include a frightening barn fire and Black Beauty's collapse on cobblestone streets. Though Brown's adaptation moves quickly through the horse's many travails, her injuries and mistreatments still strike their intended emotional chords, making her eventual reunion with the kindly groom Joe Green in the bucolic final pages feel very well-deserved. Ages 4 9.