Having never read Black Beauty as a child, I thought I'd give it a go. You know, to enhance my cultural literacy, heehee. Anyway, I was disappointed. I was actually looking for the next read for one of my students and I am not sure if I will recommend this book or not. Probably not.
My main dislike was that the author seemed to have a social agenda rather than trying to tell a great story. It seemed that she made it all up with the express purpose of pushing animal rights. I am all for loving animals and I believe God gave us the dominion and care of these wonderful creatures He created for us. However, they do not have what we have: the breathe of life, the zoe that God breathed into us, a soul that can connect with God on the most spiritual level. So the animals are not on the same plane as us, though we do have a responsibility to care for them as best we can.
If the author had written more about the horse himself than his uses and abuses, she might have included him falling in love and siring colts. That would have been a nice addition to the story.
I was pleasantly surprised by the last chapter though, since I had always heard that this was a sad book. Most of the book was sad, but the ending was a happy one. Kudos for Anna Sewell on that part.