Star of both stage and screen, War Horse is now published in a Folio edition with a striking binding and a series of powerful illustrations by Alan Marks.
Illustrated by Annette Hamley-Jenkins
Introduced by Michael Morpurgo
One of the best-selling and most widely read books of all time, in this new Folio Society edition Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty is introduced by Michael Morpurgo and embellished with nostalgic illustrations.
‘One of the greatest books ever narrated by a horse, with a fine message: be kind to animals, and they’ll be kind to you.’
- Michael Morpurgo
Many writers spend a lifetime working towards literary recognition; Anna Sewell wrote a single book and it is still one of the best-selling titles of all time, having sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. Its longevity is testament to the simple yet enduring theme of animals’ interaction with humans, and children still laugh and cry with the equine protagonist as sincerely as when Black Beauty was first published nearly 150 years ago.
A horse at the mercy of human benevolence
Black Beauty has an idyllic early life and spends his formative years living with his mother, Duchess, on a farm owned by a kindly man. However, at age four, it’s time for the colt to be sold: he must leave the only home he’s known to start his working life and it is now that Beauty learns of mankind’s propensity to maltreat animals. The mistress of the new house likes the horses’ heads to be pulled back high when drawing her carriage, a fashionable whim that constricts the windpipe and drags the bit back painfully into the mouth. While other horses rebel against such cruelties, Black Beauty retains his poise. As he moves from master to master and job to job, his compliant nature is both abused and embraced, but ultimately he knows that humans have the upper hand and their animal workforce must always be subservient or suffer the consequences.
An early work of animal rights awareness
Afflicted by a debilitating injury at a young age, Sewell spent much of her life unable to move freely and reliant on horses for transport. She grew to love and understand them, and her concern for their welfare planted the seed for the novel, which is unashamed in its condemnation of animal cruelty. Adapted for film and television on numerous occasions, as well as being translated into 50 languages, Black Beauty helped change perceptions of animal welfare through greater empathy and awareness.
Introduced by Michael Morpurgo
Michael Morpurgo discovered Black Beauty as an adult reader. An animal lover and one of the greatest children’s writers of the 21st century, he charts his appreciation of this enduring tale in his wonderful introduction to our edition. After seeing illustrator Annette Hamley-Jenkins’s longlisted entry in the 2016 Book Illustrations Competition – a series of moving depictions of Morpurgo’s War Horse – we knew she was the perfect choice to illustrate Black Beauty. Her nostalgic full-colour images beautifully convey the era and her statuesque portrait of Black Beauty himself illustrates the binding. Fifteen miniature portraits bring Black Beauty to life running through the book as you fan the pages: a unique addition to a lifelong literary companion.
ABOUT MICHAEL MORPURGO
ABOUT ANNETTE HAMLEY-JENKINS
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