Black Beauty's Early Days in the Meadow

Cover: Black Beauty's Early Days in the Meadow

One of the most popular animal stories of all time, Anna Sewell's Black Beauty was first published in 1877. Drawn from the original text and intended for even the youngest of horse lovers, Black Beauty's Early Days in the Meadow depicts the first few months of the horse's life as a foal frolicking in the meadow. Artist Jane Monroe Donovan renders the classic story in lush oil paintings that convey a pastoral world of green fields and shady trees, while tenderly capturing the special love between mare and foal. The perfect harmony of words and pictures proves once again that the simplest messages are often the strongest. Readers will relish the sweetness of life in the meadow and the companionship of family and friends.



  • Dewey: E
  • Graphics: Full-color illustrations
  • Hardcover (9781585362967): 32 pages, 9 (w) x 11 (h), © 2007, 09/28/2006
  • PDF (9781627535861): 32 pages, © 2014, 09/01/2013
  • Hosted ebook (9781627536202): 32 pages, © 2014, 09/01/2013


  • Suggested Interest Level: Age 6 - Age 9
  • ATOS Reading Level: 3.2
  • ATOS Interest Level: LG
  • Accelerated Reader® Quiz: 110471
  • Accelerated Reader® Points: 0.5

BISAC Subjects


  • K-2 Crown Gallery Award Finalist, Runner-up, 2008
  • Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year Award Finalist, Runner-up, 2006


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Author: Anna Sewell

Anna Sewell (1820-1878)

Black Beauty was the only book Anna Sewell was to ever write but its influence on the world of children’s literature remains significant.

Born in Norfolk, England, Sewell’s early Quaker upbringing instilled a lifelong sense of compassion and kindness for all creatures. She sustained an injury at an early age that was to leave her permanently disabled. As a result, she relied on pony carts and horse-drawn carriages for mobility.

Black Beauty is told from the horse’s perspective, starting with life as a young foal and then growing into a mature and (by story’s end) world-weary animal. Detailing the horse’s experiences at the hands of multiple owners, the story is not only a plea for more humane treatment of animals, it is also a vivid and insightful commentary on the customs and social conditions of Victorian England.

Illustrator: Jane Monroe Donovan

Jane Monroe Donovan's parents encouraged her to follow her heart and it led to her love of sketching and painting. Her affection for animals is reflected in much of her subject matter. Jane makes her home in Pinckney, Michigan, with her husband and their two sons, along with a menagerie of pets. Jane is the author and illustrator of Winter's Gift.