'Black Beauty' is one of the best-known, best-loved horse stories ever. Focusing on animal wefare, the book speaks out against the cruel treatment of horses by thoughtless owners and the appalling conditions of the horse drawn taxi-cab trade in Victorian London. Told through the eyes of Black Beautyhimself, among the many characters he meets is a young stable lad named Joe Green.
Joe appears as a stable lad at Squire Gordon's and then again at the end of the book, when he is working for the Blomefield sisters when they buy Black Beauty. In 'Finding Black Beauty', Lou Kuenzler has developed this character and their story.
Joe is not Joseph Green, but Josephine Judith Green, daughter of Sir Charles Green of Summer's Palace. When Sir Charles is killed in a hunting accident, his spirited daughter finds that her home has passed to the male line of the family. The Slug (her cousin Eustace) takes over her home and sells all the horses. Deciding the only thing to do is run away, Josephine becomes Joe and follows her pony, Merrylegs, to Squire Gordon's home where he (she) gets a job as a stable lad. Here she meets Black Beauty and a deep bond forms between them.
Staying true to the sequence of events in the original book, 'Finding Black Beauty' is a great story in its own right. The orginal message of kindness to animals comes shining through and Joe finds out more about her missing mother and what is really important in her life. Perfect for horse-lovers and for those who love the original book, the strong plot and great cast of characters will appeal to anyone. I loved it!
Finding Black Beauty by Lou Kuenzler
Scholastic ISBN: 978-1407174488