Let me begin this by stating, very clearly, that I am usually strongly against abridged editions of classic books. Growing up, I despised their stilted, choppy language and the complete lack of flow to their timeless tales. Instead of drawing young readers toward the charm of age-old favorites, they can often cause children to despise books which they might otherwise value very highly. That is why the abridged Black Beauty, edited for the collection called The Great Classics for Children by Dalmatian Press, was such a pleasant surprise to me. My parents actually gave this book to my children a few months ago, and as we had just completed reading Emily’s Runaway Imagination, which mentions Anna Sewell’s classic a number of times, the girls were only too happy to finally discover what exactly was so special about this old horse book. So after we finished our collection of Christmas stories during the holidays, we dove right into it, despite my suspicions concerning its quality.
This edition of one of my all-time favorite books absolutely surprised and delighted me from the very beginning, staying perfectly true to Ms. Sewell’s lovely tale and infusing every page with the rich language and high ideals which are so much a part of the original Black Beauty. My daughters enjoyed every word of this book, and even my two-year-old son was interested in the beautiful illustrations created by Micheal Fisher.
We read one chapter together every day, and every single day they asked for more. It was a perfect introduction to a remarkable classic, and I am quite confident that they will look forward to reading it in its original form when they’re a little bit older. For now, I’m very glad to have this particular version of Black Beauty on our shelf, and I hope you’ll look into it for your own family.