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Black Beauty is the famous story of a wonderful horse with remarkable spirit. One of the best-love creatures in children's literature, and voted into the BBC's Big Read top 100, Black Beauty is told from the horse's perspective, enabling the listener to enter into and understand the animal world. As a young foal Black Beauty is taught by his mother to always do his best and her advice stands him in good stead as he is moved from one owner to another. Together with his fellow horses Black Beauty experiences both good and bad treatment from humans, encountering hardship and sadness but also much joy and friendship.
Ben Fogle is one of Britain's best-loved TV presenters, having worked on Animal Park, Countryfile and numerous adventure sports programmes with Olympic medal-winning rower James Cracknell. Black Beauty was Ben's first-ever audio recording and he narrates with considerable energy and compassion.
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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 manner--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. (Ages 9 to 12)Review:
"One of the greatest books ever narrated by a horse, with a fine message: be kind to animals, and they'll be kind to you" (Michael Morpurgo Guardian)
"One of the most enchanting and best-loved children's stories of all time" (Mail on Sunday)
"This was the first book that reduced me to tears - I saw what it meant to campaign ardently and successfully for an important cause." (Esther Rantzen Daily Mail)
"So what makes these different to any other set of classics? In a moment of inspiration Random House had the bright idea of actually asking Key stage 2 children what extra ingredients they could add to make children want to read. And does it work? Well, put it this way...my 13-year-old daughter announced that she had to read a book over the summer holiday and, without any prompting, spotted The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas...and proceeded to read it! Now, if you knew my 13-year-old daughter, you would realise that this is quite remarkable. She reads texts, blogs and tags by the thousand - but this is the first book she has read since going to high school, so all hail Vintage Classics!" (National Association for the Teaching of English)
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