Monday, May 04, 2015

Teaser Tuesday 260: Black Beauty

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

This week I am teasing from a childhood classic, reread for a couple of challenges: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. I can honestly say this book stands the test of time, though I did not remember it being told from the point of view of the horse, and neither did a friend when I mentioned it to her.

"There's something wrong, sir" said John, and he sprang out of the dog-cart and came round to my head and looked all about. He tried to lead me forward. "Come on, Beauty, what's the matter?" Of course I could not tell him, but I knew very well that the bridge was not safe.

(Chapter 12, A Stormy Day)


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.


Alice Audrey said...

I tried to read that book to me kids a few years back as bed time reading. It didn't go over well at all. I was disappointing both in them and in the book. I remembered it being better.

Heather said...

Alice: Sorry you and the kids didn't like it. While there were some "moral lessons" about kindness v. cruelty, etc, I thought it a LOT less preachy than when I reread Little Women. Was it the POV of the horse that made it difficult for you all?