Black Beauty: (penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) by Anna SewellBlack Beauty: (penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) by Anna Sewell

Black Beauty: (penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

byAnna SewellForeword byJane SmileyIllustratorJillian Tamaki

Paperback | October 25, 2011

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 110 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


One of the best-loved animal adventures ever written

This Penguin Threads edition of Anna Sewell's moving novel Black Beauty includes a new foreword by Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley, cover art by Jillian Tamaki and deluxe French flaps.

Commissioned by award-winning Penguin art director Paul Buckley, the Penguin Threads series debuts with cover art by Jillian Tamaki for three gift-worthy Penguin Classics. Sketched out in a traditional illustrative manner, then hand stitched using needle and thread, the final covers are sculpt embossed for a tactile, textured, and beautiful book design that will appeal to the Etsy(tm)-loving world of handmade crafts.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Anna Sewell (1789-1884) was born in Norfolk, England, and was disabled much of her life due to an accident. Black Beauty is her only published novel. Jillian Tamaki is an illustrator and comic artist and teaches at the School of Visual Arts. She is the author of Gilded Lilies and Indoor Voice and the graphic novel Skim, a New York Ti...
Title:Black Beauty: (penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)Format:PaperbackProduct dimensions:224 pages, 8.37 × 5.64 × 0.59 inShipping dimensions:8.37 × 5.64 × 0.59 inPublished:October 25, 2011Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143106473

ISBN - 13:9780143106470


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful story! Love these Penguin Threads editions. And this is such a great story. Great for young and old alike.
Date published: 2017-02-23

Read from the Book

My Early HomeThe first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it. Some shady trees leaned over it, and rushes and water lilies grew at the deep end. Over the hedge on one side we looked into a plowed field, and on the other we looked over a gate at our master's house, which stood by the roadside. At the top of the meadow was a plantation of fir trees, and at the bottom a running brook overhung by a steep bank.While I was young I lived upon my mother's milk, as I could not eat grass. In the daytime I ran by her side, and at night I lay down close by her. When it was hot we used to stand by the pond in the shade of the trees, and when it was cold we had a nice warm shed near the plantation.As soon as I was old enough to eat grass, my mother used to go out to work in the daytime and come back in the evening.There were six young colts in the meadow besides me. They were older than I was; some were nearly as large as grown-up horses. I used to run with them, and had great fun; we used to gallop all together round and round the field, as hard as we could go. Sometimes we had rather rough play, for they would frequently bite and kick as well as gallop.One day, when there was a good deal of kicking, my mother whinnied to me to come to her, and then she said:"I wish you to pay attention to what I am going to say to you. The colts who live here are very good colts, but they are carthorse colts and, of course, they have not learned manners. You have been well bred and well born; your father has a great name in these parts, and your grandfather won the cup two years at the Newmarket races. Your grandmother had the sweetest temper of any horse I ever knew, and I think you have never seen me kick or bite. I hope you will grow up gentle and good, and never learn bad ways; do your work with a good will, lift your feet up well when you trot, and never bite or kick even in play."I have never forgotten my mother's advice. I knew she was a wise old horse, and our master thought a great deal of her. Her name was Duchess, but he often called her Pet.Our master was a good, kind man. He gave us good food, good lodging, and kind words; he spoke as kindly to us as he did to his little children. We were all fond of him, and my mother loved him very much. When she saw him at the gate, she would neigh with joy, and trot up to him. He would pat and stroke her and say, "Well, old Pet, and how is your little Darkie?" I was a dull black, so he called me Darkie, then he would give me a piece of bread, which was very good, and sometimes he brought a carrot for my mother. All the horses would come to him, but I think we were his favorites. My mother always took him to the town on a market day in a light gig.There was a plowboy, Dick, who sometimes came into our field to pluck blackberries from the hedge. When he had eaten all he wanted, he would have what he called fun with the colts, throwing stones and sticks at them to make them gallop. We did not much mind him, for we could gallop off, but sometimes a stone would hit and hurt us.One day he was at this game and did not know that the master was in the next field, but he was there, watching what was going on. Over the hedge he jumped in a snap, and catching Dick by the arm, he gave him such a box on the ear as made him roar with the pain and surprise. As soon as we saw the master, we trotted up nearer to see what went on."Bad boy!" he said. "Bad boy to chase the colts! This is not the first time, nor the second, but it shall be the last. There--take your money and go home. I shall not want you on my farm again." So we never saw Dick anymore. Old Daniel, the man who looked after the horses, was just as gentle as our master, so we were well off. CHAPTER 2The HuntI was two years old when a circumstance happened which I have never forgotten. It was early in the spring; there had been a little frost in the night, and a light mist still hung over the plantations and meadows. I and the other colts were feeding at the lower part of the field when we heard, quite in the distance, what sounded like the cry of dogs. The oldest of the colts raised his head, pricked his ears, and said, "There are the hounds!" and immediately cantered off, followed by the rest of us to the upper part of the field, where we could look over the hedge and see several fields beyond. My mother and an old riding horse of our master's were also standing near, and seemed to know all about it."They have found a hare," said my mother, "and if they come this way we shall see the hunt."And soon the dogs were all tearing down the field of young wheat next to ours. I never heard such a noise as they made. They did not bark, nor howl, nor whine, but kept on a "yo! yo, o, o! yo! yo, o, o!" at the top of their voices. After them came a number of men on horseback, some of them in green coats, all galloping as fast as they could. The old horse snorted and looked eagerly after them, and we young colts wanted to be galloping with them, but they were soon away into the fields lower down. Here it seemed as if they had come to a stand; the dogs left off barking and ran about every way with their noses to the ground.

Bookclub Guide

INTRODUCTION"I hope you will fall into good hands; but a horse never knows who may buy him, or who may drive him; it is all a chance for us, but still I say, do your best, wherever it is, and keep up your good name" (p. 13).Few writers make the kind of lasting mark that Anna Sewell achieved when she published Black Beauty in 1877. Although the first-time author died shortly after its publication, she lived long enough to see it become an immediate sensation. The novel sold a staggering five million copies and permanently altered both the laws and public consciousness regarding the ethical treatment of horses.Written in autobiographical form, Black Beauty begins with a yet-to-be-named young colt sharing his earliest memories of life. "Whilst I was young I lived upon my mother's milk, as I could not eat grass" (p. 3). The colt's early years are quiet and idyllic. However, the reader bears witness to the colt's dawning awareness of the greater world and its troubling complexities.During this time, a peaceful morning is shattered by the sounds of dogs and galloping horses. In his ignorance, the colt is captivated by the excitement of the passing hunt until two horses stumble and the sport takes a brutal and tragic turn for animal and human alike.Tranquility returns to the meadow, but our narrator's days within it are numbered. At four years old, he is now ready to be broken in and trained for a working life.His master is a kind man who gradually introduces the young horse to the steel bit he must wear in his mouth, the iron shoes that will be nailed onto his feet, and the saddle and harness he will need to ferry humans. Though it all feels strange and uncomfortable at first, he recollects how "in time I got used to everything" (p. 12).No sooner is he trained than the young horse is taken to Birtwick Park, the estate of his new master, Squire Gordon. Life is good there, and he is named Black Beauty for his coloring and handsome looks. The coachman, John Manly, is kind to his equine charges, including Ginger, a wary and high-spirited mare who warms to the newcomer. As the two become friends, Ginger tells Black Beauty how early ill treatment caused her to regard men as her "natural enemies" (p. 30).Both Black Beauty and Ginger thrive at Birtwick, but the tides of fortune are about to change. When Squire Gordon's wife is ordered abroad for her health, the household and stables are broken up and Black Beauty must again embark on a new life alone.As his circumstances and name change over the ensuing years, Black Beauty journeys from the country to the city and back again, encountering the full range of human evils—foolishness, cruelty, drunkenness, and greed—as well as havens of goodness.Today, Black Beauty is often relegated to young readers' shelves, but its lessons are still universal. In relating the story of his life, Black Beauty illuminates how we are all—man and beast—at the whim of circumstance, yet "if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt" (p. 156). ABOUT ANNA SEWELLAnna Mary Sewell (1820 – 1878) was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. At age fourteen, she slipped while walking home from school and severely injured both of her ankles. Sewell remained disabled for the rest of her life, most likely due to mistreatment of her injuries, and could not walk or stand without a crutch. Her need for horse-drawn carriages and her constant close proximity to horses led to her increased awareness and concern for their humane treatment. She wrote Black Beauty from 1871 to 1877 amid declining health and died five months after her only novel's publication. DISCUSSION QUESTIONSAnna Sewell wrote Black Beauty hoping to improve the treatment of horses in England. Would its openly sentimental style be as effective today as it was in 1877? Why or why not?Why doesn't Black Beauty's mother tell him that Rob Roy—the horse lamed and subsequently killed in the hunt—is his brother and her son? How does his later discovery of their relationship make her silence more poignant?Ginger's bad temper is her downfall, and at Birtwick Park she tells Black Beauty, "if I had had your bringing up I might have been of as good a temper as you are, but now I don't believe I ever shall" (p. 23). Do you think that personality and temperament are established by childhood experiences and fixed forever after?Sir Oliver, an older horse, had his tail cut short when he was just a young colt because "docked" tails were the fashion at the time. Railing against man's injustice to animals, Sir Oliver asks, "Why don't they cut their own children's ears into points to make them look sharp? Why don't they cut the end off their noses to make them look plucky" (p. 37)? How—if at all—have attitudes toward fashion in animals and humans changed since then?"Master said, God had given men reason, by which they could find out things for themselves, but He had given animals knowledge which did not depend on reason, and which was much more prompt and perfect in its way" (p. 47). Religious beliefs aside, for what reasons do you agree or disagree with this statement?While Black Beauty did a great deal to improve the treatment of horses in England, hunting for sport continued to flourish despite Sewell's moving description of two unnecessary deaths that occurred "all for one little hare" (p. 9). Why do you think she was unsuccessful in this area?Today, horse-drawn carriages are sometimes used to carry tourists through busy metropolitan thoroughfares. Do you think that the horses have become accustomed to cars the same way that Black Beauty "began to disregard [trains]" (p. 13)? Or is it cruel to put them in such close proximity?Part of the novel's power comes from the fact that its lessons in kindness are as relevant to humans as horses. How has reading Black Beauty made you rethink some aspect of your own life?Vis-à-vis one slender novel, Sewell challenged the status quo regarding fashion, politics, and class in her era. What are some other books that so effectively do the same?Is there a social injustice or other widespread ill that you would like to shed light on? If so, what is it, and how might you frame it as a novel?