Black Beauty Book Poster Image

Black Beauty

A heartrending, beautiful, educational classic.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Heartrending, beautiful, and educational, this morality tale gives a majestic horse a voice that is believable and unsentimental.


The book describes the cruelties that animals suffer at the hands of humans. Horses are mistreated.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the writing is elegant and the story a page-turner. But if animals or Victoriana are not your child's interest, it may not please.

What's the story?

Heartrending, beautiful, and educational, this morality tale and animal autobiography gives a majestic horse a voice that is believable and unsentimental. An animal-rights classic that also is a great read, BLACK BEAUTY follows the life of an ebony horse from birth to old age, and from pasture to the cobblestone streets of 19th-century England.

Is it any good?


The first full-length book told from a horse's viewpoint, BLACK BEAUTY is a heartbreaking tale of the cruelties, both malicious and inadvertent, that animals suffer at the hands of humans. It's also a book of sensuous writing that can take the reader from the beauty of a spring country evening to the coal-coated world of Victorian London. Anna Sewell was a devout Quaker, and there is a spare, Quaker ethic running through the novel, encouraging the value of hard work without complaint, as well as a humble countenance.

This book eventually influenced the abolition of the cruel bearing rein, kicked off the animal-rights movement, and forced more humane treatment of London's human cabbies. Although the book is beloved by animal-loving children around the world, some readers may find the gentle sermons, as well as Beauty's loyal attitude to even the most cruel human, out of date. But most kids will feel like one 10-year-old reader, who whispered, "I learned what it feels like to be an animal...and I cried."

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about treatment of animals. How has the treatment of horses changed since this book was written?

Book details

Author:Anna Sewell
Genre:Literary Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:November 24, 1887
Number of pages:275
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

This review of Black Beauty was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Great handpicked alternatives

  • The Secret Garden Book Poster Image
    Beautiful classic filled with magic and realism.
  • Little Women Book Poster Image
    Classic still charms despite outdated gender roles.
  • Flicka 2 Movie Poster Image
    Touching horse story wrangles tough issue of loss.

Top advice and articles

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byfrogger April 9, 2008
Kid, 11 years old April 16, 2010
Black Beauty is an extremely cleverly written book. I am eleven years old and I enjoyed the book thouroughly. There are some trajic parts of the story and there are some bad role models (people who ill use horses and another who is too drunk to ensure his and the horses own safety.) and a few deaths. However this book has tought me alot and really opened my eyes to animal rights. Words to describe this book: FANTASTIC! HEART WARMING SAD HAPPY EDUCATIONAL PAGE TURNER SWEET CLEVER Anna Sewell (the author) used all of her knowledge of horses and their treatmeant and thier lifes. She has good description or food, sttables, riding equiptment and this story is just timeless! :D
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byPinkGirl4Life1 April 9, 2008