Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Summary: The autobiography of a horse – Sweet and simple, good treatment makes good horses. A sad story of how the life of Black Beauty changes with each successive owner.

Personal reaction: An excellent read aloud with a child, especially if you can get your hands on an illustrated version. Just felt like reading a classic again for sheer pleasure. What kills me is that the style of writing, and the concept of a good/simple life and treatment of others is just not attractive reading to many middle graders today. I wish I had my copy of Serilda’s Star by Cook to read over again too, but I’m not ready to get all the Black Stallion series books done this summer.

Black Beauty is out of copyright and downloadable for free from Project Gutenberg in several formats. The latest movie made from this novel was in 1994.

Curriculum use: would tie in well with character ed discussions or maybe with an animal husbandry unit (animal cruelty, horse study, etc.)

Items to display with book: English saddle, bit, whip, horse figurine and/or carriage; historical photos of period – especially of the painful check-rein, London cabs, etc.

Food: (since this is horse-fare, there’s not much to share with the kids at a book party unless you want them to have a carrot, apple or sugar cube!) You could have hay, oats, bran mash as part of your items on display

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