Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge #12

I so don't do animal books (and talking animals are twice as bad). Any animals I read about are fantastical like werewolves or Companions (Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books).

But I did read one animal book as a child that has stayed with me for life. Somehow it is indelibly imprinted on my mind. I read Black Beauty. I remember crying so hard that my mother threatened to take the book away from me before I finished it. Maybe the memory of sobbing through a book is what has turned me off animal books to this day.

Product description from Amazon: "A horse is a horse of course unless of course the horse is Black Beauty. Animal-loving children have been devoted to Black Beauty throughout this century, and no doubt will continue through the next. Although Anna Sewell's classic paints a clear picture of turn-of-the-century London, its message is universal and timeless: animals will serve humans well if they are treated with consideration and kindness.

Black Beauty tells the story of the horse's own long and varied life, from a well-born colt in a pleasant meadow to an elegant carriage horse for a gentleman to a painfully overworked cab horse. Throughout, Sewell rails--in a gentle, 19th-century way--against animal maltreatment. Young readers will follow Black Beauty's fortunes, good and bad, with gentle masters as well as cruel. Children can easily make the leap from horse-human relationships to human-human relationships, and begin to understand how their own consideration of others may be a benefit to all. (Ages 9 to 12)"

This a is picture of a current edition of Black Beauty. I think mine was an old Whitman Classics version. In fact, it might still be here around the house if I would just go looking. (Now that I'm thinkiing about it there was also an old Spin and Marty book about a rich boy going to a dude ranch and learning all about horses and other critters that I read at about the same time period. That might be here too.) I'm spending Christmas Break in the house my parents built and brought me to as a 6-month-old baby.


  1. love black beauty...I should have listed "my friend flicka," as well on my blog...love love love that book :)

  2. I don't do animal books either. They are usually too sad for me.

  3. I loved Black Beauty as a child as well, and have read it many times as an adult.

    You are quite wrong, however, about Beauty having a job as a "painfully overworked cab horse".

    If you go back and read that section of the novel, you will see that the hansom cab driver was among the best of Beauty's owners, and that he took very good care of him, and Beauty loved and appeciated him very much.

    Just an FYI.


I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity.

Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!