Sunday, January 15, 2012

Black Beauty at Chick-Fil-A

Black Beauty
Chick-Fil-A edition
Anna Sewell, il. Jose Miralles
Abridged by Margo Lundell
2007, Frederic Thomas Inc.

The last post was about a horsey book which strove to educate children about sexual abuse.  This one is about a slim booklet which is arguably even more didactic, although in all fairness it heavily abridged a book which was conceived as an educational tool, the classic Black Beauty

Stories like Black Beauty are fun to read and think about, but they can also teach us about the world and ourselves.  Black Beauty is a great story to teach us about the word respect.  Respect means that we treat others in a way that we would like to be treated.  You can learn more about respect by trying to understand what Black Beauty may be thinking or feeling, and how he views the world.

Lundell, who adapted Sewell's work for this little version, does a nice job considering the limitations and the intended audience.   

I was very ill.  I had a bad inflammation of the lungs and could not breathe without pain.  John nursed me day and night.  The master often came to see me, too.  "My poor Beauty," he said during one visit.  "You saved your mistresses's life, Beauty, you did."

I will admit, I really included this review, if it can be called a review, only because I like the illustrations, by comic book artist Miralles, but I was unable to find much about him online, at least in the time frame I alloted and given my decision in high school to take French instead of Spanish (a decision I soon regretted, as the French teacher was an evil hag and the Spanish teacher was a likeable sort of guy).  So I came up blank on a post re: Mr. Miralles's artwork.  It is impressive, however; horses are not easy to draw and his are quite realistic.

Happily, as has happened before, my research for the post lead me on to more topics.  The fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A distributed these books with its kids meals, a nice habit it seems to be continuing now with Little Golden Books.  The company was founded by a Southern Baptist who isn't shy about his religious faith, and their charitable work with children's causes is counter-balanced by a support for anti-gay causes.  So there's some positive/negative issues there. 

More interesting to me is the discovery that MacDonald's, the ultimate fast-food joint, has now glommed onto giving away books with Happy Meals instead of toys.  At least, in the UK.  The french fry giant is collaborating with HarperCollins UK to give away 9 million books from War Horse author Michael Morpurgo.

And now I want a chicken sandwich.  And a large fries.  Damnit.

FredericThomas Inc.             


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