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Black Beauty
by Anna Sewell

Author: Anna Sewell
RRP: £6.99

Black Beauty is a brilliant story for animal lovers with a unique narrative as instead of the typical first person human-based narrative. This story is told from the perspective of a horse, Black Beauty, during the course of his life and the hardships he faces from his early memories with his mother in a meadow to finding his forever home with an old friend.

The book was written by Anna Sewell who spent most of her life around horses and notice the plight of working animals in big cities like London where they pulled cabs on busy streets and where not very well taken care even though they work so hard. The book was first published in 1877.

Throughout the book, we are introduced to a multitude of interesting and unique characters from the main protagonist Black Beauty to side character both human and animal such as Captain, a horse who works with Black Beauty but once served as a cavalry horse in the army. This mixture of attitudes, personalities and characteristics ensures that the reader is always kept well entertained by a diverse cast that the book offers.

The plot of the book revolves around Black Beauty. We are first introduced to Beauty through his own re-telling of his early memories of living a field with his mother, Duchess, and from there we are talked through his life. Going from the field with his mother to be bought by and working for a man named Squire Gordon. From here Black Beauty's life becomes more difficult and he passes to many owners but I would rather not ruin the story for readers and allow them to experience it for the first time by themselves.

My own favourite part is when Black Beauty is reunited with an old friend named Joe Green. Black Beauty at this point has had a hard life and seems to have given up hope for anything better but Joe gives him a loving home with the women he now works for. This is my favourite part because it means that Black Beauty has finally found a home where he will be looked after like he deserves.

The part I most disliked is when the reader is told about how Black Beauty is treated at one of his many homes. This home is a place which allows horses to be rented out for work or for people to ride however the owner cares very little for the horses that he owns and this means that they are left for days in dark stalls when not being rented out which nearly causes Beauty to go blind. This part is very sad and really hits home how much the horses suffer from mistreatment.

Overall the message of the book is clear. It serves as a reminder that despite the fact they cannot talk, animals still have needs, emotions and deserve the same amount of respect as humans do. It causes the reader to reconsider how animals may feel in everyday life and how our opinion of animal rights have changed over time.

Ellie-Mae Taylor (16)