Black Beauty

Anna Sewell, Author, June Brigman, Author, June Brigman, Illustrator Puffin Books $10.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-14-240408-9
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.
Reviewed on: 05/02/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Compact Disc - 978-1-56254-887-2
Compact Disc - 978-962-634-165-0
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