Beautiful Joe


Beautiful Joe

Subtitle: An Autobiography

Author: Marshall Saunders

Published: 1893

Genre: Children

About Beautiful Joe: The true story of an abused dog which became an international bestseller and was the first Canadian book to sell over a million copies.

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As a children's book, Beautiful Joe is quite violent by today's standards. It's also sentimental and preachy. Still, much of the story is timeless and it's easy to see why it was so popular.

More Reviews

“...a wonderful tool for conscience-building and demonstrating the cause and effect relationship between loving discipline and a positive result...”
gr4c5, LunaSea
“It has touched the hearts, and remained in the memory of many.”
Selkie @ LibraryThing
“...a somewhat long pamphlet on animal rights...”


In telling my story, I think I had better begin at the first and come right on to the end. I was born in a stable on the outskirts of a small town in Maine called Fairport. The first thing I remember was lying close to my mother and being very snug and warm. The next thing I remember was being always hungry. I had a number of brothers and sisters—six in all—and my mother never had enough milk for us. She was always half starved herself, so she could not feed us properly.

I am very unwilling to say much about my early life, I have lived so long in a family where there is never a harsh word spoken, and where no one thinks of ill-treating anybody or anything, that it seems almost wrong even to think or speak of such a matter as hurting a poor dumb beast.

The man that owned my mother was a milkman. He kept one horse and three cows, and he had a shaky old cart that he used to put his milk cans in. I don't think there can be a worse man in the world than that milkman. It makes me shudder now to think of him. His name was Jenkins, and I am glad to think that he is getting punished now for his cruelty to poor dumb animals and to human beings. If you think it is wrong that I am glad, you must remember that I am only a dog.

Read the rest of Beautiful Joe.



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Added 28 May 2007.
Updated 23 August 2013.