“Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell is the story of a well-bred, well-mannered horse who initially was raised in happy and comfortable environment. Due to unfortunate circumstances, Black Beauty is eventually sold.
During the 19th century in England, when this classic was written, it wasn’t uncommon for a horse to be treated like a common vehicle or machine, changing ownership multiple times when a horse was no longer useful to his owner in the exact way that was wanted, which is what happened to Black Beauty during the course of his lifetime.
Black Beauty did find himself in kind and caring hands from time-to-time. These compassionate owners rallied for their horses’ well-beings and encouraged those who mistreated their horses to take a gentler approach.
The message of this book rings clear: Treat others the way you would want to be treated, whether man or beast. When “Black Beauty” was first published in 1877, its message was so influential that people started changing the way they treated their horses.
How did Delia enjoy it?
Delia’s grandmother, thoughtfully, gave her a big basket of classic books as a baby shower gift before she was born. I waited several years to get cracking on some of this literature and thought now that Delia was 7-years-old (nearly 8), it might be time to introduce “Black Beauty”.
Initially, the story was captivating to Delia. It is told by the horse’s point of view, which is different, and the chapters aren’t lengthy. However, I could tell Delia’s interest was starting to wane by the middle of the book. If I could do things differently, I probably would have waited until she was nine to introduce this book to her. That being said, Delia seemed to regain interest in the last third of the book and started asking again if we could read “just one more!” after we finished our chapter. And when we completed the book, she asked if we could go horseback riding. So I’d have to say, overall, she did enjoy most of it.
This was actually my first time reading “Black Beauty”, as well. I’m not sure HOW exactly this book escaped from me for so long, but I believe if I would have known about its historical impact on reducing animal cruelty, I would have picked it up a lot sooner!