What do you think?
What did you like about the story?
What do you like about Black Beauty and how he tells his story?
Which experience did you enjoy reading about the most?
Which experience was the most difficult for you to read about? Why?
The Earl runs his stable differently than Squire Gordon. How do the stables differ? How does that affect the trust between owners and their horses? Can you give an example of trust between Beauty and his master? How about an example of mistrust?
The working horses of Victorian England were often cruelly treated. Sewell's book can be seen as one woman's effort to encourage humane treatment of animals that work so hard for us. Should you be responsible for stopping animal abuse if you witnesses it? What would you do? What can you do?
What did you learn about horses from reading Black Beauty?
Fun & Adventure Beyond the Book
Was Black Beauty real? Many believe Black Beauty symbolizes all of the working horses of Victorian England. A 1999 article in Horse Power describes a bit of what life was like for horses in Victorian England. This site explores Victorian "tramways," the horse-drawn precursor to railroads.
You can learn more about the book and author Anna Sewell at this publisher's website.
Wonder what life was like in Victorian England? Journey back to 1876 to visit a middle-class family's home and get a taste of daily life. Then try exploring the era's politics and culture.
You can see some of the carriages from the Black Beauty era, and then take a virtual tour of horse-drawn carriages. To picture what a typical Main Street was like, check out this photo.
Want to learn more about handling horses? The HorsesCanada site has all sorts of information, as does Equine World.
If You Like This Book, Check Out...
Grace Greene, from the Vermont Department of Libraries, says if you liked Black Beauty, you'll probably enjoy these books as well:
There are no other children's books by Anna Sewell
National Velvet, by Enid Bagnold (Watts, 1949)
A fourteen-year-old English girl wins a horse in a raffle, trains it, and rides it in the Grand National steeplechase.
The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley (Random, 1991)
Young Alec Ramsay is shipwrecked on a desert island with a horse destined to play an important part in his life. Following their rescue, their adventure continues in America.
King of the Wind, by Marguerite Henry (Rand McNally, 1948)
Traces the abuses and triumphs of the Arabian stallion that became a founding sire of the Thoroughbred breed, and of the mute Arabian boy who tended him as long as he lived.
The First Horse I See, by Sally M. Keehn (Philomel, 1999)
Left in the care of her beloved Granddad following the death of her mother, Willojean tries to prove to her alcoholic father that she is able to train a special horse which had been abused.
A Dog's Life, by Ann M. Martin (Scholastic, 2005)
Squirrel—a stray puppy—tells her life story, from her nurturing mother and brother to making her own way in the world, facing busy highways, changing seasons, and humans both gentle and brutal.