Beautiful Joe: An AutoBiography of a Dog
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Beautiful Joe: An AutoBiography of a Dog

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  1,162 ratings  ·  139 reviews
A dog describes being mistreated by a cruel master but then later being taken in by a kind family.
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1893)
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My mom introduced me this story when I was only about 8 years old, as I was an animal empath all of my life. Keeping with the tradition of Black Beauty, one has to understamd that this book was written more for simple people who didn't understand in the late 1800's and early 1900's that animals had souls and could feel pain. Marshall Saunders does an excellent job of teaching that it isn't easy living at the mercy of cruel humans in the same way as Black Beauty and I love books that are told fro...more
This is an old favorite. From "Beautiful Joes" point of view. It was an amazing book! Inspiring, simple, touching.The rough start at life for Joe really makes you think. How your life is, how his was.How it would be like for an animal.What they possibly think, would feel.I am quite fond with all the characters.Each one reaches out to you.You truly feel like you know them.The care in the book is amazing.Like I said, the book was touching.And it was a true story! It made me eager to read Beautiful...more
Sherry (sethurner)
"My name is Beautiful Joe, and I am a brown dog of medium size."

Beautiful Joe: The Autobiography of a Dog was written in 1893 by Margaret Marshall Saunders. The author used a male pen name because she feared she would not be taken seriously as a woman writer. I picked up a copy at a used book sale on a strength of a recommendation of a friend, and while I enjoyed the story of a loyal dog who comes to a loving family after having been savagely mistreated, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I...more
Nancy Brady
This was one of my favorite books when I was a youngster. It tells the story of a dog who is owned by a cruel master (he cuts his ears and tail off) before being rescued by a kind family. Told from the dog's perspective, it is a compelling and poignant read that is both joyful and tear producing depending. Highly recommended to all children ten and up.
Eva Leger
Apr 15, 2010 Eva Leger rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every animal lover on earth
Recommended to Eva by: Jeannie and Suzanna (thanks guys!) :D
I can't believe I made it 32 years without knowing about Beautiful Joe. I so wish I had been introduced to this book as a child - I can only imagine how many times I'd have read it between then and now. I won't make that same mistake with my daughter. I'm going to buy a copy of this for us and always keep it around. I'll read it to her in a few years and then hopefully a few years later she'll be reading it herself.
I would have liked this book to be five times as long as it is. It's rare to fin...more
I was pleasantly surprised to find a book written in a dog's voice in 1893, and I absolutely loved it. And the voice - Beautiful Joe's - is indeed a beautiful voice. His voice is genuine and loveable, and his perspective is believable. The book also gives an historical account of the way animals were treated in America at that time. I found it sad that so little has changed since then in respect to the abuse, neglect, and abandonment of animals and the lack of laws to protect them. Beautiful Joe...more
Sep 20, 2010 Kim rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all children between about 8-11 years old
Recommended to Kim by: Donna Fay
My aunt gave this book to us this summer and said that she had read and loved it when she was about 8 years old. It is about a dog who was born on a farm with a very abusive owner. The dog is soon rescued and taken in by a loving family. Kaitlyn loved it and always begged me to read more. We were instructed that the book is to share with all our cousins but Kaitlyn doesn't want to give it up. She is now starting to read it a second time on her own. My aunt tells me that there is a cemetery in On...more
This book was written in 1893 by Margaret Marshall Saunders. What a remarkable, compassionate author she is. The story is of a dog, Beautiful Joe, and is told by the dog. The entire story focuses on his life and the the humane treatment of animals. I just loved the last sentence of the book:

"Boys and girls, be kind to dumb animals, not only because you will lose nothing by it, but because you ought to; for they were placed on the earth by the same Kind Hand that made all living creatures."
Beautiful Joe is the story of a dog, a mongrel whose first owner abused him, going so far as to chop off his ears and tail. He was rescued and went on to live a much happier life. The author of this story, Margaret Marshall Saunders1 met the real Beautiful Joe while visiting her brother in law and his wife, the inspiration for Laura in the book. She was touched by Joe’s story, and having recently read Black Beauty2 decided to write “a dog’s own tale”.

A lot of comparisons to Black Beauty might be...more
Cecile Hibbs
Another excellent book that my grandmother gave me. A beautiful, sensitive and sad story told from the perspective of an abused dog. This story was written to strike up interest in animal's rights in the early 1900's.
Excellent childrens book from my youth, another of the many that my grandmother picked up at garage sales. The pages are yellowed and brittle, and the back cover is duct tape and the cardboard backer out of a picture frame (granma dearman's make-shift replacement, lol). For a kids book that was thirty years old when I read it, and almost another thiry years since, I guess it's holding up decent. :D

Anyhow, this book focuses on kindness to animals by way of the title character Beautiful Joe. Full...more
Read this as a child, loved it and have never forgotten it was a favorite, although my memory of the details is dim. I do know Joe stole my heart. Have wanted to reread it for a long time.
I can't believe this book had no readers on Goodreads. This is a book written in the same manner as Black Beauty to raise awareness of animal cruelty. An influential book in my life.
A great book for kids. Teaches love and compassion for all living beings, and creates a caring perspective for children!
Chrystal Hays
I found an older copy of this book as a gift for a nephew, and took time to re-read it before gifting. My mother read it to us when we were children...perhaps I was 8? It made a good and lasting impression, but I wanted to see how it read now.

It was revolutionary in its time and resulted in many advances in dog care, as it was inspired by Black Beauty. Joe was a real dog.

What is interesting about reading it today is the appreciation one gets for the advances since it was first penned, througho...more
This was my dad's favorite book as a child and it is also one of mine!
Cindy Oxman
My grade two teacher read this book to our class and I will never forget the impact it had on me. I remember trying hard not to cry as she read it, but borrowed a copy from the library so I could read it at home and cry privately. I found an old copy at a book sale years later and couldn't wait to read it to my own children. Sadly, they could not garner the same enthusiasm for it as I, but patiently listened during our bedtime reading rituals. I hope I made it up to them by honoring their choice...more
Sirius Scientist
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 03, 2014 Patricia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: animal lovers, children who are animal lovers
When I was five years old my mother bought me this book at a goodwill in louisville for five cents. i remember seeing the picture of beautiful joe on the cover and found myself wanting to know why his little ears were cropped. the copy i had had been beaten up itself - the spine was held together with masking tape.

it was the first real book i read and i've read it many times throughout my life. as michael and i ready ourselves for a child, i thought it would be good to re-read this book. i'm su...more
Forgotten Realms Queen
Wow this was painful to read. It's a kids classic, so I thought I would rip through it pretty quick...but no...

Beautiful Joe is the story of a dog in his own words. Think Black Beauty if you've ever read the book or watched the movie. The only difference is book really encompasses all kinds of animals, rather than just focusing on one type.

So Beautiful Joe is a dog who was abused by his first master. Had his ears and tail chopped off with an axe because the guy got in a bad mood. Luckily for him...more
I've been looking for this book for years. The last time I read it, must have been in 1983. That was when I was still in school and all I could remember was the shelf from which I fetched it and the dog on the cover! The scene that's haunted me ever since (and which is why I really wanted to read it again) was when young Joe goes to hide in the bramble bushes to die ... the rest was just a haze (except, of course, that a dog wrote the book, which my mother thought very funny). So, what a pleasur...more
Jordan Taylor
Beautiful Joe has been compared to the groundbreaking Black Beauty since its publication in 1893. This first person story of an abused dog runs many parallels to Black Beauty and Margaret Marshall Saunders made no secret of having been inspired and greatly influenced by the horse novel. The two even met comparable success. Black Beauty was already famous and Beautiful Joe soon became the best-selling Canadian novel ever. (Though the true story it is loosely based on took place in Canada, the nov...more
Jeri Massi
BEAUTIFUL JOE will shock young readers because of its very violent beginning, and yet that violence is handled well in the story, and it creates the lasting impression upon young minds that its author intended. For the writer tells the story from the point of view of a dog cruelly abused, his suffering, and his rescue. In a culture where children see a lot of violence, this book is a refreshing truth: violence hurts. It brings pain and grief, and good people still try to heal pain and grief and...more
Often described as the Canadian version of Black Beauty, Beautiful Joe is a great book for young aspiring animal activists. Saunders was way beyond her time when she wrote on behalf of the humane treatment of a wide variety of animals, from domestic pets like cats and dogs, to farm animals like chickens and cows. Through the voice of a mutt named Beautiful Joe, she draws attention to the injustices done to animals, injustices that still continue today.
As a story itself, I felt it was lacking...more
For the most part I liked this book. I enjoyed the Beautiful Joe's narratives of his adventures and those of his animal siblings in the household he came to call home. If the whole book would have been about that I would have loved it more unfortunately it wasn't and I found much of the communication spoken by his humans about animal rights to be rather preachy. Normally I would be all over this because I LOVE animals but it was overbearing at times. I had to keep reminding myself of when the bo...more
My grandmother gave me her copy of this book when I was 11. Her copy was printed in 1934 and it is one of the oldest books I own. The story was very hard for me to read, not because of difficulty with words, but because of the content. Even though it was hard to read I devoured the book during my 18 hour car ride back to my parents house in CA. I finished it before I got home. The book details the life of a dog named Beautiful Joe. He is a 'cur', what we would call a 'mix' or a 'mutt' now, and h...more
FREE KINDLE DOWNLOAD but bits of poetry missing here and there. After the success of Black Beauty in raising awareness of the cruelty to horses in America, the Humane Society started a contest for manuscripts that might do the same for small animals. Beautiful Joe won the contest and was published to great acclaim around the turn of the 20th century. Narrated by the dog, Joe, it chronicles his early life when he was horribly abused, to the remainder of his life in the home of a large, loving fam...more
I did not finish this. After reading so many reviews praising it and the influence it has had on people, I thought I was going to read an amazing piece of literature. Knowing it was for a yougner audience, I was prepared for a young narration. I stopped about one third of the way in. It did nothing to hold my attention. Perhaps this is because the lessons it seems to beaiming to teach are lessons I've already learned myself. My compassion is huge, so I felt like someone was just telling me to be...more
I think this is a timeless story of how life was for animals before the Humane society and other animal rights organizations came into being. It is not pretty, but it is an honest account of how animals were viewed as dumb and treated no better than dirt under people's feet or pests. It is,in part, because of this book that the mistreatment of animals were given a spotlight and changes were made. It is sad to note that even in the 21st century there is still far too much animal cruelty going on....more
It cracked me up to read the boy's review below that says he liked the horse book he read, read this because his sisters loved it, that it was OK, but twice as good as Little Women. That pretty much sums up Beautiful Joe. I bought it for Sophie, so skimmed it to see if it was a good as I remembered. My sisters and I reread this book yearly and cried and cried. We wanted to have lots of pets, our parents didn't, so after the cats were run over on our busy street and the canary died, we'd read Bea...more
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Margaret Marshall Saunders CBE was a Canadian author.

Saunders was born in the village of Milton, Queens County, Nova Scotia. She spent most of her childhood in Berwick, Nova Scotia where her father served as Baptist minister. Saunders is most famous for her novel Beautiful Joe. Originally published under the pseudonym Marshall Saunders, it is a story narrated by a dog who has had a difficult puppy...more
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