Black Beauty was one of the first books that made me cry. I got my own copy of the book when I was thirteen though I had read it earlier from the school library, as a prize I won at school. I still have my copy.. My school had this policy of handing out books as the prize to kids for all events; and when I had discovered that early on (I was always one of those – good students), I made sure I participated in competitions and did my best as well in class throughout the year. This ensured I got a few books at the end of every school year 🙂 But this was not my only source of books – my dad was the biggest supporter of my reading habits (and still continues to be!) – there is no way I can keep count of the number of books he bought for me (he never batted an eyelid when we entered bookstores and I returned with an armload of books). I digress, so returning to the book in hand – Black Beauty.
Though circumstances may be different today, there are still animals (and people) ill treated everywhere around the world and this book’s message of empathy, kindness, and humane treatment of animals(and fellow humans too) is a much needed one. Read on for more interesting facts about this wonderful book.
- Black Beauty was a very unique concept for the Victorian times – with the story written in the animal’s point of view. Many biographers believe that Sewell based Beauty on the family’s beloved pet horse, Bess.
- This was Anna Sewell’s only published book, she started writing this in 1851 and it was published in 1857, a mere five months before she died at the age of 58. She did live long enough to learn she had authored a bestselling book (though she had sold it to the publishers outright for a price of £20 – the price paid for the book is unconfirmed however with varying records for the price of £20, £30, and £40!) (Source: The Oxford World Classic’s edition of the book)
- The original/complete title of the book was ‘Black Beauty: His Grooms and Companions : the Autobiography of a Horse : Translated from the Original Equine’
- This was not intended to be a children’s book; instead, it was aimed at adults to highlight the harsh treatment of horses and as a manual to help those who worked with horses. In her own words, her purpose in writing the novel was “to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses” Consequently, her descriptions of how horses were treated, and specifically, of the in-vogue ‘bearing rein’ of the times, led to the ban of the rein, and to changes in animal welfare laws all over Victorian England as well as in the United States.
- The book also described how horses should be treated, and as such, was handed over to stables and horse-drives everywhere as a guide.
- This is certainly a best seller, having sold more than 50 millioncopies to date.
‘Black Beauty’ is definitely one book that should be required reading for all ages, and it has inspired people in so many different ways. It still continues to be a favorite of mine.
Have you read the book? Or watched any of the various movie versions of the book? If you were to write a story about an animal in the animal’s POV (point of view), which animal would you pick and why?
This post goes towards UBC, Just Jot It January, ABC Wednesday‘s round 22 – letter B (my theme for ABC Wednesday’s Round 22, as you might have already guessed, is children’s books – I will pick one popular (and sometimes the not so popular/the unknown) book – classic/modern/old/new… – and write about it – be it a backstory or facts or something else completely).
this post contains Amazon affiliate links