The story is narrated in the first person as an autobiographical memoir told by the titular horse named Black Beauty—beginning with his carefree days as a colt on an English farm with his mother, to his difficult life pulling cabs in London, to his happy retirement in the country. Along the way, he meets with many hardships and recounts many tales of cruelty and kindness. Each chapter recounts an incident in Black Beauty's life containing a lesson or moral typically related to the kindness, sympathy, and understanding treatment of horses, with Sewell's detailed observations and extensive descriptions of horse behaviour lending the novel a good deal of verisimilitude. While forthrightly teaching animal welfare, it also teaches how to treat people with kindness, sympathy, and respect. With fifty million copies sold, Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time.
Anna Sewell (1820-1878) was an English novelist, best known as the author of the classic 1877 novel Black Beauty. Anna was unable to stand without a crutch or to walk for any length of time because of an old injury. For greater mobility, she frequently used horse-drawn carriages, which contributed to her love of horses and concern for the humane treatment of animals.