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Finding Black Beauty by Lou Kuenzler. An enchanting retelling of Anna Sewell’s classic horse story, a moving and uplifting tale of friendship.
A horse needs the help of a young girl…
Aspiring groom Josie comes to love her spirited charge, a black colt called Beauty. When he is taken from her, she travels to London to find him – on the way discovering the truth about her own past.
Finding Black Beauty is a sweeping tale of a young girl; her love for her horse, and the circumstances that divide them.
I am a huge fan of horse stories, have been about as long as I can remember. Black Beauty is an absolute classic – but it’s not particularly accessible, language wise, to today’s children. This reframing of the story, although still set in the past is in modern language, and a great introduction to the original story. It stands alone as well in that the focus is on the main human character rather than the horse – another thing that makes it a little more accessible.
Aimed at children from 8 upwards, there are some sad or scary moments in this book, so if your child is particularly sensitive you’ll want to approach with care. But mostly it’s a wonderful story about a girl and her love for horses. Well worth adding to your library of horse books.
In case you’re looking for a few more titles to fill up your shelves, here’s 10 of my favourites.
The original Black Beauty. Being a horse was a hard life in Victorian England.
Fly-by-night by KM Peyton. Ruth has never ridden a pony before, but she falls in love with Fly-by-night. Where will she find the money for him, and how will she learn to ride? (Also worth finding the rest of the books about Ruth and her friends – KM Peyton is a wonderful story teller.)
The Silver Brumby ever wondered what the life of a wild horse is like? Wonder no more, but run free with the silver brumby. (Start of a series. All worth reading. And rereading.)
My Friend Flicka. If you don’t weep when reading this book, you may just possibly be made of stone. Honestly, I teared up just looking at the cover again.
National Velvet. One of the few books I came to through a film, just sublime.
The Glory. Proving that there are still horse stories being written that are worth reading, The Glory takes its place among the classics of yesteryear.
Phantom Horse. There’s something about wild horses isn’t there? They enchant us. This series is wonderful.
Jill’s Gymkhana is the start of Ruby Ferguson’s Jill books, and I grew up on these. Worth hunting down.
I wasn’t the only pony mad teenager who wanted to move to Follyfoot was I?
And finally? A Wind in Cairo by Judith Tarr. Something a little different from the majority of the pony/ horse stories I’ve mentioned before. The story of an arrogant princeling changed to horse shape as a punishment. Absolutely magical from an author who knows a massive amount about horses, and is well worth getting to know on social media too.