by Anna Sewell
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Text Difficulty:4 - 8
- 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 reading. 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. M.T. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine
May 2, 2005
This graphic novel adapts the classic children's story of a horse whose gentle nature triumphs over abuse and misfortune. Anna Sewell's original remains beloved to preteen girls in particular, not just for the adventures Black Beauty goes through, but also for Sewell's lyrical descriptions of a past era. Husband-and-wife team Brigman and Richardson do a wonderful job illustrating that period, with b&w drawings that pop off the page and give readers an excellent sense of place as well as time. Unfortunately hamstrung by having to shorten a story that spans many years, they have had to cut all of Sewell's descriptions and most of her transitions, leaving short, choppy chapters that represent information rather than tell a story. Sewell originally wrote the story to expose mistreatment of animals in her society, and the cuts leave the adaptation sounding a bit preachy and repetitive. The spirit of the author's brave horse still comes through, as Black Beauty describes his different masters and the other horses he meets in his life. This should be a hit with horse lovers still too young for the original.
- From a life of comfort to one of labor, the famous horse, Black Beauty, encounters both good and bad people while revealing how animals suffer as much from thoughtlessness as from malice. This classic makes the transition from the written to the spoken word with flair and is as varied and interesting as the characters themselves. Lambert uses a forceful and well-paced narrative style, and his vocal characterizations are just right. This well-crafted audio presentation tells Black Beauty's story in all its splendor. M.R. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
October 10, 2016
In a brisk adaptation of Anna Sewell’s 1877 animal story, Black Beauty recounts his early life on a farm and the accident that leads him to become a work horse in London, where he is abused by his masters. Brown illustrates in a rich, pastoral style, capturing pivotal events that include a frightening barn fire and Black Beauty’s collapse on cobblestone streets. Though Brown’s adaptation moves quickly through the horse’s many travails, her injuries and mistreatments still strike their intended emotional chords, making her eventual reunion with the kindly groom Joe Green in the bucolic final pages feel very well-deserved. Ages 4–9.
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OverDrive MP3 AudiobookBurn to CD:PermittedTransfer to device:PermittedTransfer to Apple® device:PermittedPublic performance:Not permittedFile-sharing:Not permittedPeer-to-peer usage:Not permittedAll copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.
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