Sewell's classic story, enjoyed by generations of families, is given fine treatment in this audio production. Black Beauty goes from a peaceful, trouble-free existence to horrible treatment with his new owners when an accident necessitates that he be moved. His spirit perseveres through this time with the cruel men his mother warned him about as a foal as he finds his way back to a happier life. Sewell's tale, written as an outcry against animal mistreatment, takes on new life in Simon Vance's narration. His voice carries enough gravitas to easily convince both younger and older listeners of the importance of care for animals. His narration makes a heartfelt story into a listening experience for the family to share together.
©2005 Tantor Media, Inc.
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
Considering I've always been a lover of animals and badly wanted to ride horses as a little girl, I'm surprised that I hadn't gotten around to this book much earlier in life. Originally published in 1877, the story follows Black Beauty—so named by one of his owners—from his carefree youth as a colt in a farm while still under his mother's tutelage, and through the better part of his life, as he passes from one owner to the next with conditions often going from bad to worse to unbearable, notably when he is forced to (over)work as a cab horse in London. Black Beauty narrates his story in the first person, and while I enjoyed having the horse's point of view, I was annoyed by the extent of anthropomorphising, with our protagonist seemingly able to understand human speech and reasoning, and have a wide range of all too human feelings too, which might be acceptable for a young reader, but not for this adult.
Interestingly enough, it seems that Sewell did not originally write the novel for children. The story makes repeated allusions to the mistreatment of animals, and horses in particular, and seemed in parts overly moralistic, though as another reader pointed out to me, it was the first work of fiction advocating the humane treatment of horses. According to wikipedia "[Sewell] said that her purpose in writing the novel was "to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses"—an influence she attributed to an essay on animals she read earlier by Horace Bushnell (1802–1876) entitled "Essay on Animals". Her sympathetic portrayal of the plight of working animals led to a vast outpouring of concern for animal welfare". Recommended reading for animal and horse lovers.
I bought this book for kindle but had not read it. When I decided to use the narrated app I was sorry I had waited so long. I am a rather slow reader and really enjoy this way of reading.
Have to delve deeper into the classics.
Age 76 & this is the first time reading this book. I both laughed and cried.
Yes, I have! Kids need to hear this!
Awesome.......Girl with the Dragon tattoo entire series!
Many! I loved all the series
One of my all time favorite stories. I'd read it a million times as a child, in all it's harsh reality, and listening to it was a new experience. Highly recommended.
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