Reading to the kids has been my thing for the better part of about seven years, and we recently finished Black Beauty authored by Anna Sewell; it was agreed that it's a 4.5 out of 5.
Every night I read to four of the five kids (though Asia does listen from her room) a chapter or two of a story. We've just started The Burgess Animal Book for Children after having finished Black Beauty.
The reason for this post is to remind you to read the classics. Read to yourself, read to your children, read to your cat. Just read. Reading BB for my kids was my first time reading it, and how I wish I'd read it earlier. It's a wonderful story and easy to follow for any age.
Unbeknownst to me, and there's no spoilers here, the story is told from the perspective of Black Beauty, an all black male horse from the time he is being weened from his mother to his suspected last home/owner. There are some ups and downs in his life as a horse and his horse-fiends; however, I particularly liked how it wasn't written in a cartoonish/childish way but instead in a manner that kids can relate to.
For me, Mr. Sensitive, the ending was perfect- not sad! So, if you're looking for a great family story, Black Beauty is the right choice.