Posts Tagged With: Word Cloud Classics

Black Beauty, Anna Sewell – Book Review

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Title
: Black Beauty

Author: Anna Sewell
Genre: children’s, classic, animals
Release Date: November 24, 1877
Length: 195 pages
(total of 49 chapters as 4 parts)

Synopsis

As a young colt, Black Beauty gallops in the fresh green meadows with his beloved mother, Duchess, and their kind master. But when his owners are forced to sell him, he swaps a life of freedom and happiness for one of work and toil. Bravely he works as hard as he can, suffering at the hands of men who treat animals cruelly. But Black Beauty has an unbreakable spirit and a strong will, and is determined to survive.

1st sentence

The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it.

What made me get it and thoughts on the cover

What— It’s a well known children’s classic that I don’t know much about.

The cover — All black with engravings of quotes from the book – so beautiful! The endpaper is also so stunning. I thought the horse is female because of the glittery pink used in the title but nope Black Beauty is a male horse.

My thoughts

The book is told in a way like it’s an autobiography written by the horse itself (himself … the horse tells us snippets of his journey like a human I can’t help but refer to it by him), we get to see how he goes from being well taken care of to being treated badly by different masters after being injured in an accident. Along the way he gets to meet other horses, and even though we feel really bad for what Beauty is going through, some of his other acquaintances went through more hardships which made me think that Beauty was actually quite lucky and blessed to have been with a few owners who were very nice and kind to him.

You know how when you watch an animation about characters played by animals you tend to look at that particular animal differently in real life. Well you’ll feel the same here too. After reading this book whenever I see a horse with blinders on or a horse that’s dragging a cart, I think ” Yeah, I know what you’re going through, poor thing”, you also feel more sympathetic towards the people who used to work in a cab driven by horses and the hardships they go through with the different customers they get and long hours they work.

The author managed to write the novel in a way that would be enjoyable to readers of all ages. There’s one thing that I thought was overdone: Anna Sewell tends to write the moral of the story in the same paragraph of a story rather then leaving it out there for the reader to get the lesson intended behind the incident just mentioned. For example, a person would whip an animal and then this other good guy comes to stop the first one from hurting the animal and starts preaching about how bad being cruel is, so just in case whoever is reading didn’t get the message behind a certain part the author lets one of the characters yell it straight to our faces.
I prefer subtle messages, myself. 

Overall          

Quite a change to read from an animal’s perspective, making it an important read.        4.5/5 stars

“we have no right to distress any of God’s creatures without a very good reason; we call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words.”

 

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Aesop’s Fables, Aesop – Book Review

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Title: Aesop’s Fables
Author: Aesop
Translated by: V. S. Vernon Jones (original language – Ancient Greek)
Genre: classic, short stories, anthology, fable
Length: 239 pages
(total of 284 fables)

Synopsis

Aesop was a slave and storyteller who lived in ancient Greece around 620-564 BC. No writings by him exist (if they ever existed at all), yet numerous stories and tales have been credited to him and have been shared through oral tradition throughout the world. Many of these use animals as the main characters to convey deeper meanings and morals that have become ingrained in our cultural–and personal–belief systems.

1st moral

It is easy to despise what you cannot get.

What made me get it and thoughts on the cover

What— I never would’ve picked up Aesop’s Fables because for some reason I thought I knew all of the fables (they’re in magazines and in many typing tests) so I figured there’s no need for reading them. However, since I’m collecting as many as I can of the Word Cloud Classic books I got this one too and eventually read it.

The cover — I’m in love with word cloud classic editions so yes, I love the cover. The orange color with the fox symbol on the spine and the engravings of nice quotes with of course the lovely endpapers. Oh, and the text of the title in the Greek style…. ahh I just love it all.

My thoughts

I was very wrong in thinking I knew all of the stories. It turns out that there’s more than just ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’ or ‘The Farmer and His Sons’ or ‘The Shepard’s Boy and the Wolf’ and ‘The North Wind and the Sun’. I actually counted and the ones I’ve heard of before ended up being only 17 out of the 284 fables included in this book.

Most of the stories end with a sentence that tells you directly the moral of the story, while others don’t have anything written at the end, so it’s up to you to decide on the message you get from what you just read. Though, honestly some of the morals have nothing to do with the story, I mean I’d be reading it and go: “Yeah, I see the message,” and then when I read the sentence in the end I’d be like “Wait… Is that the moral? It should be the opposite”. Anyways, the morals are phrased beautifully so that’s always a good thing.

In this edition some stories come with illustrations – by Arthur Rackham – that help to picture the situation. Most people think that Aesop’s fables are only animal fables but there are some stories that revolve around just humans or the Gods. Still, the majority are about talking animals. 

When I first started reading it I told myself I’d read just 3 fables a day so I would ponder over the lessons; I stuck to that at first then I found myself reading a lot more than what I intended.

Overall

A nice collection of tales. The first fables were better than the ones toward the end (a few of them were boring and pointless). Some make you think, others make you laugh while others were just meh.      3.5/5 stars

Don’t be in a hurry to change one evil for another.

 

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