This is one of the most famous children's books ever written. Since its publication in 1877, it has sold well over 30 million copies. It held the world record for sales far and above any other piece of children's literature for 130 years, until the year 1997, when a certain novel named Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published.
It wasn’t, however, written for children - the story of the highly spirited and gorgeous black stallion and his transfer from owner to increasingly abusive owner until his final happy rescue was originally intended to be a campaigning work distributed to those who worked with horses in the middle of the 19th century.
But there was something about the story which led to its becoming one of the most successful pieces of children's literature ever written. The great success of Black Beauty was partly due to the novelty of telling the story from the horse's point of view, unheard of in 1877, when horses were not even supposed to have points of view. The clarity, simplicity and energy of that voice is still astonishing, but more astonishing in the 1870s was the public reaction to the book,. This gentle Quaker woman used the voice of a strong, black horse to undermine most of the assumptions of working Victorian Britain.