Anna Sewell's Black Beauty: The Graphic Novel (Graphic Novel Classics)

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9781599611136: Anna Sewell's Black Beauty: The Graphic Novel (Graphic Novel Classics)
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A horse in nineteenth-century England recounts his experiences with both good and bad masters.

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About the Author:

Anna Sewell was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, on March 30, 1820. Brought up in a strict Quaker family, Anna developed a strong interest in horses as a young girl. But a crippling bone disease and a fall in 1834 left her an invalid for most of her life. By her mid-thirties she was severely lame and could only get around in a pony cart, and characteristically she would never use a whip on the animal. In 1871, she was told she had eighteen months to live, and by the end of that year, she had begun her book, Black Beauty, hoping it might make people a little kinder to their faithful horses. Although she was seriously ill, she lived long enough to finish her book and see it published in 1877. On April 25, 1878, she died at her home in Old Catton near Norwich, England. Black Beauty, an enormous success from its first appearance, was soon adopted by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and used to improve the conditions of horses everywhere.

From Publishers Weekly:

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.
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