PPBF: The Story of Black Beauty – The Year of the Horse

jeremy horseback with carrie

Today is Friday – I have a children’s book review to add to the Perfect Picture Book resource list that author Susanna Leonard Hill is building on her blog. For more wonderful reviews from authors, educators and others who contributed today, please go here.

January 31st starts the Chinese Year of the Horse. In honor of that…and because I’ve always loved horses, I offer a picture book version of one of the most beloved of all horse stories.


The Story of Black Beauty

Written by Anna Sewell

Illustrated by Alan Marks

Publisher: Usborne Publishers Ltd (Picture Book Classics – 2008)

Ages: 4 and up


Friendship, horses, animal welfare, treating others with kindness and consideration


From Amazon: “Anna Sewell’s classic story of a young horse’s journey from the rolling hills of the English countryside to the dark, cobbled streets of London, retold for young children in picture book form.” Black Beauty grows up on a pleasant farm, surrounded by loving caretakers and good friends. But events take place and she is sold and then sold again. Each new master fails to treat her with kindness and consideration – this is a true picture of London at the turn of the century.

Why  I like this book:

  • Great read-aloud for younger children…older kids will enjoy reading it themselves
  • Beautiful watercolor illustrations
  • The story was written over 100 years ago…it is timeless and timely

How a parent can use this book:

  • Great read-aloud
  • Opportunity for discussion about animal welfare and treating others with kindness and sympathy and respect – people as well as animals

Related Activities:



Photo courtesy of http://www.allkidsnetwork.

You will need: Construction paper, markers, scissors, glue AND your child.

  1. Trace the outline of your child’s foot on a piece of construction paper (this will be the horse’s head).
  2. Cut it out and cut out from construction paper (or draw) the other elements in the picture – horse’s neck, fence, flowers.
  3. For detailed instructions, please go to: http://www.allkidsnetwork.com/crafts/animals/farm/footprint-horse.asp


More awesome horse crafts for kids here: http://www.daniellesplace.com/html/HorseCrafts.html





About Vivian Kirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD'S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING. freelance writer, picture book junkie, love to travel, hike, cook, play Monopoly with my 5-year old grandson and go fly-fishing with my husband.

Posted on January 17, 2014, in Crafts for kids, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Book Review, Year of the Horse and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Wow! I never knew there was a PB version of Black Beauty! I’d love to see it – I’d be interested in how they handled some of the more difficult parts. Glad to add such a classic to our list, and love the activity :)

  2. Great craft idea, Vivian. That footprint horse is darling.

  3. What a gorgeous cover of Black Beauty. I imagine the rest of the illustrations are beautiful. Great to see this classic in a PB. What a fun activity for kids.

  4. A perfect choice for Year of the Horse, Vivian!

  5. Looks like a wonderful read. And I love the craft project. I know what I’ll be doing with my grands this week.

  6. I’ll have to check if our library has this book. That would be an interesting story to read with my kids, and a lot shorter than the novel for now.

  7. Never did read the classic, this looks like my chance!

  8. How come I haven’t read this? Love your activity, Vivian.

  9. This sounds like a great book! :D Josie has a copy of the novel (which I haven’t read yet). I didn’t know there was a picture book too!

  10. Like everyone else, I didn’t know there was a picture book retelling! Loving the footprint horse.

  11. A picture book Black Beauty!! Excellent! Thanks!

  12. This looks like a lovely edition! I am bookmarking that footprint horse, RIGHT NOW!

  13. I’ll have to find this one for sure! Love the footprint horse…adorable!

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