Black Beauty
Anna Sewell

Book cover image

Narrated By: Ralph Cosham

Duration: 5 hours and 21 minutes

What to expect

From its first publication in 1877, Black Beauty has been one of the best-loved animal stories ever written. The dramatic and heartwarming tale is told by the magnificent black horse himself, from his idyllic days on a country squire’s estate to his harsh fate as a London cab horse and his merciful rescue by two kindly old ladies.

Filled with vivid anecdotes about animal intelligence, the novel derives a special magic from the love of all creatures, great and small, apparent on every page. But the book’s lasting impact comes from its descriptions of a human society struggling to find the goodness within itself and its plea for kindness to all creatures—a message so powerful that this favorite classic began a crusade for animal welfare that continues to this day.


Children’s / Teenage fiction: Classic fiction, Children’s / Teenage fiction: General fiction, Children’s / Teenage fiction: Action and adventure stories, Children’s / Teenage fiction: Nature and animal stories, Children’s / Teenage general interest: Ponies and horses

Listen to a sample

“One of the greatest books ever narrated by a horse, with a fine message: be kind to animals, and they’ll be kind to you.”

The Guardian (London)

“Black Beauty recounts his experiences with both kind and cruel owners.”

School Library Journal

“One of the best animal stories every written, Black Beauty charts the decline and fall of a well-bred horse brought low by neglectful grooms and overwork in the cab trade…Black Beauty himself is finally saved…less fortunate is his high-spirited friend in harness Ginger, whose ignoble death in the streets of London makes for one of the most powerful passages in all children’s literature.”

The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English

“The first major animal story in children’s literature. The author wrote it ‘to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses’…Sewell’s careful observation and extensive description of equine behavior lend verisimilitude to the novel.”

Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature

“The classic children’s story of a horse whose gentle nature triumphs over abuse and misfortune. Anna Sewell’s original remains beloved to preteen girls in particular, not just for the adventures Black Beauty goes through but also for Sewell’s lyrical descriptions of a past era.”

Publishers Weekly

“There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham.”