BLACK BEAUTY by Robin McKinley

BLACK BEAUTY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An abridgement (to about a third) of the classic horse story by Anna Sewell, first published in 1877. Normally, abridgements of famous stories cheat the reader: even when the new work has merit, reading it is a different, usually inferior experience. This case is different. Black Beauty is as much tract as Story, an exhaustive exploration of the treatment and mistreatment of the Victorian horse, aimed at reform. McKinley has used the author's words and retained most major events, pruning out extra incidents that reinforce the author's point but leaving the message clear. The result reads well and still gives a sufficiently detailed overview of the uses and abuses of the pre-automobile horse for most modern children. Jeffers' large, colorful illustrations, pen and wash with crosshatching, are satisfyingly full of quintessentially beautiful horses; they can be faulted only for being too pretty: even the poor, the underfed, the moribund, are pictured as sleek and lovely. Yet that too is in Sewell's spirit--it's the "beauty" who wins advocates. An attractive edition that should win new friends for an old favorite.
Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 1986
ISBN: 0333493346
Page count: 72pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1986




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