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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Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she’ll realize how big she is inside, where it counts.

Julia is still mourning the loss of her beloved dog Ramon when her mother signs Julia and her younger brother Randy up for a local university production of The Wizard of Oz.  Julia is quite short for her age, so her mother is certain she will be cast as a Munchkin.  Reluctant at first, Julia becomes more and more enamored with the various people involved in the semi-professional production.  The director, some of the actors, and a few of the tech crew have been hired from out of town; some are college students; the rest, like Julia, are from the local community.  Julia acknowledges not only her own “shortcomings” both at school and at home, but is realistic in her assessment of other people as well. The reader will grow along with Julia as she learns about life and the world around her through this classic production. A must read for students who love to act, as well as for those who feel they are average in a world of “stars.” I loved the main character Julia SO much and I think I took a liking towards her right from the beginning due to her love of her dog! Highly recommended for grades 4 & up!

This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs by Gary Paulsen

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

If you do not know who Gary Paulsen is….then we can’t be friends….I supposed we COULD, but you must read his books!  Gary Paulsen is the Newbery Honor–winning author of Hatchet and Dogsong . In this book he shares surprising true stories about his relationship with animals, highlighting their compassion, intellect, intuition, and sense of adventure.

Gary Paulsen is an adventurer who competed in two Iditarods, survived the Minnesota wilderness, and climbed the Bighorns. None of this would have been possible without his truest companion: his animals. Sled dogs rescued him in Alaska, a sickened poodle guarded his well-being, and a horse led him across a desert. Through his interactions with dogs, horses, birds, and more, Gary has been struck with the belief that animals know more than we may fathom.

His understanding and admiration of animals is well known, and in This Side of Wild, which has taken a lifetime to write, he proves the ways in which they have taught him to be a better person.

I found this book in Juvenile non-fiction section at the library and due to that fact, the book to me was too short!  I want to hear more of his stories other than those I have already read!  I highly suggest you read about the very interesting life of Gary Paulsen!  You will wonder where and when did he have time to write over 200 books?  A fantastic author and person to read about!

Seven Dog Days of Summer Books

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I am quite bias when it comes to dogs.  Of course my dogs are the cutest, best dogs there are!  Someday I will write a book about them!  Here are some “Dog” Days of summer books for you to revisit and read!

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The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith

By beloved author and playwright Dodie Smith, this is the original tale of the Dearly’s dalmatians, Pongo and Missis, and their fifteen pups stolen for Cruella de Vil’s coat couture. On Pongo and Missis way to rescue their litter from being skinned alive (literally), they meet Perdita and Prince whose puppies have also been pinched. Much more than Disney’s “Kanine Krunchies” jingle, this novel is 101 percent heart and fur.

Available at
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | iBooks | IndieBound |Target | Walmart

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A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

From the humorous author of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, this book chronicles a dog’s life through multiple reincarnations. He searches for his purpose while leaving everlasting paw prints on his human family members. After reading this book, you’ll never look at a dog again without seriously contemplating the divine nature of the canine spirit.

Available at
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | iBooks | IndieBound |Target | Walmart

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Because of Winn-Dixieby Kate DiCamillo

Disheartened ten-year-old Opal moves to Naomi, Florida, with her father after her mother’s abandonment. She finds a misfit dog at Winn-Dixie supermarket and promptly adopts him. Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal meets new friends and discovers ten things about her absent mother. Because of Winn-Dixie, she learns that she is not defined by her sad past, and that finding love begins by giving it. This took home a Newberry Medal for a reason: it’s a winner.

Available at
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | IndieBound | Walmart

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One Good Dog by Susan Wilson

Boston millionaire Adam March loses his job for slapping his assistant and is sentenced to community service at a homeless shelter where he meets Chance, a pit-bull mix escaping a brutal past of illegal dogfighting. Together, man and man’s best friend rebuild broken trusts and forge new lives. A salute to second chances, and who doesn’t love that!

Available at
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | iBooks | IndieBound |Target | Walmart

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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Enzo, a shep-terr-oodle mix, has studied his master Denny’s racecar driving and his rocky relationships with his wife and daughter. As a dog, Enzo ponders the philosophical horizons of life in silent reflection, and he’s ready to be reincarnated as a man. It’s the eve of his death, and he’s giving us his tell-all. A poignant reflection of humanity as only a dog could convey. This book will have you counting your blessings—including opposable thumbs.

Available at
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | iBooks | IndieBound |Target | Walmart

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The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

Burnford contends that she wrote this book for adults despite its children’s literature fame. Animal devotion is an ageless theme. In the novel, the Hunter family’s three pets travel three hundred miles through the wilderness searching for their cherished masters who have temporarily gone to England. I’m devoted to stories of man (and man’s best friends) traversing nature’s wilds and coming through triumphant. Isn’t that why we read—to vicariously live incredible journeys?

Available at
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | iBooks | IndieBound |Target | Walmart

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White Fang by Jack London

We all know London’s acclaimed The Call of the Wild,but I argue his White Fangsurpasses the original wolf-dog tale. Told from the perspective of White Fang, the novel examines the mirrored violence of the animal and human kingdoms. Set against the treacherous beauty of Canada during the Klondike Gold Rush, the book is an homage to an adventurous corner of history told through the impartial eyes of a savage with a heart of gold.

Available at
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | IndieBound | Target |Walmart

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