Gr 4-8-Anna Sewell's classic novel begins with Black Beauty's early days as a colt at his mother's side and follows him through each of his masters and jobs. It is written in a charmingly sophisticated voice that is easier for listeners to understand than to read; the language, tone, and sentence structure are a bit antiquated, suiting the time period in which the story was first published in 1877. Moral lessons are abundant in this tale told from the horse's point of view. A great deal of information about the nature and abilities of horses is imparted in a surprisingly grim first person narrative. The casual cruelty of man toward beast is expounded throughout the captivating story. Each character, man or horse, is compellingly and earnestly voiced by narrator Simon Vance. Sure to be popular with horse lovers.-Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In this abridgement of Sewell's classic story, McKinley has managed nicely to retain Beauty's unique voice as well as the most-remembered stories, while making the text more accessible to younger readers. Jeffers's fine ink illustrations will satisfy even the most demanding of horse-lovers with her ability to capture each horse's personality. This version brings back the sharpness of the cruelty towards Beauty and his companions, and McKinley has rightfully retained the pain and the ugliness of some of the incidents. Children will still weep at the death of Ginger, and Jeffers's portrayal of the barn fire is quite frightening. It's an elegant edition, which will linger with readers until they are ready to tackle the original. (All ages