Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This book was my ‘Book a Blind Date’ at our local library and how excited I was to read it being an animal, especially dog, lover!  “Beautiful Joe” is a juvenile fiction story although I think that everyone, EVERYONE needs to get a copy of this and read this amazing story.

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Beautiful Joe was a real dog and this story is based on true events of his life, from being rescued from the hands of a very cruel man who actually removes his ears and tail in a fit of anger.  With all the brutality, comes a new life that Beautiful Joe only dreamed of when the Morris family comes to his aid and carefully nurses him back to health, giving him the name Beautiful Joe.

The story is told through Beautiful Joe’s eyes, who finds that he is in the company of many other animals that the Morris’s have rescued from harm.  The Morris’s believe that every creature has the right to a full and happy life.  Beautiful Joe falls in love with his entire adopted family and becomes the most loyal and trustworthy companion.

Margaret Marshall Saunders –The Storyteller and a Woman ahead of her time…

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This is Saunders most famous novel, which was originally published under a pseudonym Marshall Saunders….her real name is Margaret Marshall Saunders.  In 1892 while she was visiting her brother in Meaford, Ontario, she heard the story of a dog that was rescued by Mr. Walter Moore (the father of her sister-in-law, Louise Moore). This event inspired her to write the story of Beautiful Joe, a canine autobiography of a Meaford area dog, rescued from a brutal owner who had chopped off his ears and tail. She decided to enter the story in a literary contest sponsored by the American Humane Education Society. In her book the Moore family became the Morris Family, and she relocated the story to a small town in Maine, USA as per the contest rules. Also, because female authors were not popular at the time, she disguised her sex by not using her first name Margaret, instead using her middle name Marshall. Beautiful Joe written by Marshall Saunders was finally submitted… and won!

The book was first published in 1893 and quickly became the first Canadian book to sell more than a million copies. By 1900, over 800,000 copies had sold in the U.S., 40,000 in Canada and 100,000 in the United Kingdom. And by the 1930’s worldwide sales were over 7 million copies.

Beautiful Joe was chosen as one of the 10 best children’s books in Canada, and for more than a century Margaret Marshall has been one of Canada’s best known writers of children’s stories. In fact, the book has been distributed to children in many cities throughout North America with the hope that children will show the same compassion towards one another as they would towards animals. The book was also the first Canadian novel to be published in the universal language of Esperanto and later translated into 14 languages which include: French, English, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and Chinese. Beautiful Joe’s story has been part of the curriculum at notable Canadian universities such as Toronto, Guelph and Simon Fraser University.

Margaret was indeed a trailblazer who championed the rights of women and animals. She helped co-found the Maritime Branch of the Canadian Women’s Press Club with Lucy Maude Montgomery, and continued to speak out on many other social problems as well. As a result in 1911, she received an Honorary M.A. from Arcadia University. All the while preaching kindness to animals, and working tirelessly with the many humane societies she belonged to.

Keeping Beautiful Joe’s Memory Alive…

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In the hometown of Beautiful Joe, there has been formed the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society.  This society preserves and promotes the historical legacies of both ‘Beautiful Joe’ and Margaret Marshall Saunders and celebrates the natural bond between animals and humans.  The society created a park in memory of him as well, which is where Beautiful Joe is laid to rest.

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“Beautiful Joe Park is a peaceful and serene 8.5 acre parcel of Parkland on the banks of the picturesque Big Head River in Meaford, Ontario. The Park is named after me “Beautiful Joe”. I’m the hero in Margaret Marshall Saunders bestselling novel of the same name. I am laid to rest in the Park grounds and you can see my monument.

At the entrance to my Park, you will find a bronze  sculpture of me, Beautiful Joe that was created by local Meaford resident, Gunter Neumann. My Park is also home to a 9/11 Monument honouring a brave dog named Sirius, who was K-9 partner to Officer David Lim. There is a K-9 Monument as well as a Service Dogs Monument. The Park is also home to Paradise Islands, a place where people can have a plaque respectfully placed honoring their beloved companions. We like it when you remember us like that! By retelling my story, my friends at the Society are able to keep my hopeful and rehabilitative message alive.” – Beautiful Joe

To find out more about the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society, click on their logo below:

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Winterhouse (Winterhouse #1) by Ben Guterson

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is a must read for children, full of mystery that will keep them entertained though the whole story!

Elizabeth Somer lives with her aunt and uncle because her parents passed away.  They are by no means a wealthy family and Elizabeth has a feeling that her aunt and uncle really don’t like her.  Until one day out of the blue, her aunt and uncle receive money and instructions to take a vacation by themselves while sending Elizabeth off to a hotel called Winterhouse over Christmas break.  Elizabeth has no idea who sent them the money, which is where her mysterious journey to Winterhouse begins…..

Upon her arrival, Elizabeth is mesmerized at the charms Winterhouse seems to offer, which I won’t delve into because you must read the story to find out all of it’s magical amenities!  She meets a boy her age, whose parents also sent him to Winterhouse for Christmas and they quickly become friends.

Elizabeth loves to read and to her excitement, there is a vast library at Winterhouse several stories tall.  While browsing one day she happens upon a magical book of puzzles that unlocks a mystery involving the Hotel’s owner and his family’s secrets.  Elizabeth quickly realizes that something is happening to her and somehow she is connected Winterhouse, but how?Elizabeth is the only one who can solve the mystery of the strange things that begin to unravel during her stay at Winterhouse……

This story is full of mystery and adventure, a great book for young readers with beautiful writing combined with illustrations that make you feel like you are right next to Elizabeth solving the mystery!

Published January 2nd 2018 by Henry Holt and Co.

 

The Worm and the Bird by Coralie Bickford-Smith

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A new, beautifully illustrated picture book from the bestselling author of The Fox and the Star, winner of Waterstones Book of the Year 2015.

Via Goodreads

Deep below the earth, Worm dreams of having more space. There’s not much room down there.

Above, Bird waits, through sun and rain and wind.

As the day goes on, will they both find what they are looking for?

From the author of The Fox and the Star, this is a book about searching and hoping, and how the smallest moment can be beautiful.

Absolutely beautiful cover, and gorgeous illustrations. A somewhat dark tale about the importance of devoting time to the things that really matter.  It’s a bit about mindfulness and the desire for solitude too I think.  I may even be seeing the story though adult eyes and it will mean something completely different to a child!  Poignant and layered and a little bittersweet (at least if you are an adult), it’s added to by the use of metallic ink both on the cover and inside.  It is  just so beautiful!

The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A beautiful children’s book about the friendship of a Fox and the Star that guides him through a dark forest.  Fox looks for food, runs with rabbits and dances in the rain until the sky goes dark and suddenly everything starts to change around Fox.  So he sets out to find the light again which carries Fox a journey lit by courage, newfound friends.

Via Goodreads

Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement and the art of William Blake, The Fox and the Star is a heartwarming, hopeful tale which comes alive through Bickford-Smith’s beloved illustrations, guiding readers both young and grown to “look up beyond your ears.

The art work is amazing in this book, anyone from young to old will find the beauty in this story.   When you handle the cloth bound hardback, it feels like a beautiful old edition of a children’s classic that has been handed down for generations.

Summer of the Wolves by Polly Carlson-Voiles

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is a middle grade story for fans of  Julie of the Wolves or Hatchet.

The story is about a 12 year old orphaned girl Nika and her 7 year old brother Randall as they leave a California foster home to visit a long-lost uncle in the wilderness of Northern Minnesota.  This takes them on a journey in a small floatplane over the thick green forest canopy, to spend the summer on a wilderness island. Nika, of all people, knows not to get her heart set on anything, but as she follows her uncle in his job studying wolves, Nika stumbles upon a relationship with an orphaned wolf pup that makes her feel — for the first time since her mother died — whole again. Here in these woods, with this wolf, none of the hard things in her past can reach her.

I really like to read books about wolves and this one touches great details about wolf behavior and a deep sense of interconnection with nature.  I really enjoyed it.

 

The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

If you enjoyed the Maze Runner books, you’ll like this story as well.  This is a dystopian novel that will keep you on turning the pages until you realize that you’re at the end and you haven’t moved in hours.  I enjoyed the story line, although in a few places I felt as though the story was going drug along.  I will chalk this up to the fact that 90% of the story is riveting and a story does need a little down time every once in a while.

Main character Eden’s life has changed drastically since the war.  There’s a new powerful group called the Wolfpack that is controlling everything on earth including all the resources.  This group killed Eden’s family and has imprisoned her.  She has a lot of spunk and decides that she isn’t going to be held captive any longer.

Eden knows a secret.  She knows that the myth of Sanctuary Island, is actually not a myth at all…thanks to her father.  Eden races and risks her life to reach this island to find solace.  What she finds is far more complicated than she or the others escapees had expected.

What would you do to reach freedom if your future is looking deadlier every second?  How do you survive?

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting (Babysitter’s Guide to Monsters #1) by Joe Ballarini

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This was a FANTASTICALLY  entertaining book! I cannot wait to share this with a girl I know who is just getting into the ‘Goosebumps’ books, she will love this!

Main character Kelly Ferguson is in middle school and has been working hard at earning money to go to camp, which is high dollar.  Kelly’s life changes in flash one Halloween, when she is asked to babysit instead of going to a Halloween Party with a friend.  Disappointment and a tug between earning money for camp or hanging out with her crush is all Kelly was worried about.  Little did she know, she was about to experience babysitting at a whole new level!

Baby Jacob was easiest enough for Kelly to handle, but then once she put him to bed, the night took a turn for the worse when Jacob is kidnapped by the Boogyman’s minions called Toadies!  Now, with the help of the Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting and a secret society of Monster Hunting babysitters, Kelly’s new mission is to get Baby Jacob back safe and sound before his parents come home!

This book puts a fun twist on the babysitting gig!  Readers will love the fast paced amusing story.  Hop into the story and grab a flash light…….you’re going to need it!

*Film adaptation starring Keegan Michael Key in the works.*