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4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,771 Ratings  ·  389 Reviews

The Dog Star, Sirius, is tried for murder by his heavenly peers and found guilty. His sentence: to be reborn on Earth as a dog until such time as he carries out the seemingly impossible mission imposed on him.

In his Earth guise, Sirius, renamed Leo, truly lives a dog's life. Although he is the pet of a girl who loves him, both child and dog are mistreated by the family wit

Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Greenwillow Books (first published 1975)
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Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne JonesCharmed Life by Diana Wynne JonesThe Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne JonesCastle in the Air by Diana Wynne JonesHouse of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones
Favourite Diana Wynne Jones
9th out of 39 books — 354 voters
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Hidden Gems: YA-Fantasy Novels
32nd out of 1,560 books — 3,617 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 06, 2011 j rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The librarians of my childhood failed me. I'm sorry, there isn't a nice way to say it. They let me check out armloads of Goosebumps books week after week, when just a few shelves away, there were a dozen magical, wonderful books by Diana Wynne Jones just aching to be discovered and devoured by a dork like me, who would clearly have loved them. At least I was lucky enough to randomly stumble across Daniel Pinkwater on my own.

Of course, I can't judge the librarians too harshly. The late '80s were
Apr 18, 2011 Fiona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, every child, every dog lover, every person
Recommended to Fiona by: itself
I first read this book when I was nine and I can't count how many times since that I've read it.

Since acquiring an Amazon account though I've been able to buy more DWJ books and then managed to own my very own copy of Dogsbody. I wish I could have the version of book I read as a kid though.

This is the first book I could say I truly loved, adored and became obsessed with. It doesn't matter how many times I've read this, I still enjoy it each time - nothing has diminished.

I guess I was attracted
Melissa McShane
I didn't find out what a "dogsbody" was (a drudge or menial worker, in case you didn't know either) until years after I'd read this book, so the double meaning passed me by--Sirius being in the body of a dog/Sirius losing his position of power to become a humble and powerless creature. Fortunately, it doesn't matter at all. This is a delightful story on so many levels.

Since Sirius the luminary star-denizen doesn't have any more idea about Earth life or humans than Sirius the abandoned puppy does
Verity Brown
Feb 01, 2013 Verity Brown rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Diana Wynne Jones fans; LDS fans of sf/f
Recommended to Verity by: Amazon reviewers

I'm already a fan of Diana Wynne Jones, and I'd heard this was one of her best books (in spite of being one of her earliest), but neither of those things prepared me for how deeply this story moved me.

I think that part of what gives this story its power is that Jones pulls no punches here. The antagonists and the abuse they deal out are not made "safe for kids" by an over-the-top Roald Dahl treatment (as they often are in Jones' other books). The nasty adults do and threaten to do things that re
Jul 28, 2013 Nikki rated it really liked it
I've been asking people to look over my list of unread books and pick out one or two, or even a few, that really interest them and talk to me about it. Dogsbody is the first of the books I've read picked out for me like that: the clinching factor (apart from it being short and written by Diana Wynne Jones) was that I was told it has an end that is both happy and sad.

That turns out to be true. A lot of the story is very young at heart -- the main character becomes a young puppy and slowly has to
Carol Nicolas
Jul 02, 2014 Carol Nicolas rated it really liked it
The Dog Star, Sirius, is falsely accused of murder. His sentence is to be reborn on earth as a dog until he can redeem himself by finding the Zoi. Unfortunately, Sirius (or Leo as he is now known) has no idea what a Zoi is or how to find it. All he has is the body and senses of a dog, the love of a mistreated little girl, and the eventual friendship of a cat, an elderly lady, and his litter mates. The woman who owns him despises him, the police are after him, and worst of all, Dark powers are tr ...more
Mar 17, 2015 Lily rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
In the universe of Dogsbody, stars are ruled by spirits called luminaries. When a nearby star "goes nova" and a device called the Zoi falls to earth, the luminary of Sirius is falsely accused of murder. His punishment is to be born on Earth as a dog and retrieve the Zoi--or die trying.

Yes, it's quite a bizarre book. I normally associate DWJ's stories with whimsy, charm, and magic, and this book is a bit of a departure from those themes. Of all the books by her that I've read, Dogsbody stands ou
Oh, I REALLY enjoyed this book! Though this is targeted toward the young adult market, I think it is a story for all ages! The premise of a celestial being trapped in the body of a dog on Earth is definitely unique, but the way it is written, though it is a fantasy novel at heart, there are a lot of realistic details about a dog's life. Anyone looking for a unique spin on a dog book would definitely enjoy this! The dog/star's perspective was wonderful and just completely unlike anything else I h ...more
May 08, 2014 Vishy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first got to know about Diana Wynne Jones a few years back when I discovered a Diana Wynne Jones event being hosted in the blogoshere. I have never heard of her before and so I made a mental note to explore her works later. Then Diana Wynne Jones started cropping up everywhere – I discovered that a collection of fantasy short stories on my bookshelf had a short story by her and then I discovered that another collection of fantasy stories on my bookshelf was edited by her. Then I heard more blo ...more
Aug 01, 2009 Ken rated it really liked it
Dogsbody is a Young Adult book, written in 1975 and now out of print. I would never have known about it, except that Jeri Smith-Ready, an author whose work I really enjoy, recalled loving this book herself. I found a copy in the library (there are also lots of used copies for sale all over the place).

Sirius, the Dog Star, has a fiery temper and has been convicted of a crime of passion that resulted in the death of a luminary, and the loss of the mysterious zoi -- a powerful and dangerous artifac
Before there was Rowling, there was Diana Wynne Jones. While I love the Harry Potter series, Jones has been a truly original writer in what could variously be considered YA or Adult fiction (an argument could be made for each). This new edition provides - I hope - the appeal and opportunity to place Dogsbody in many more people's hands. I read this several years ago, on my sister's recommendation - she's provided me with some of the best recommendations! - and Dogsbody is one of my favorite nove ...more
T.L. Bodine
Dec 28, 2011 T.L. Bodine rated it it was amazing
I checked this book out of the library from a small town I lived in for a short time. I think I was in fifth grade. The book managed to haunt me (in all the right ways) well into my adulthood, but I could never find it again until someone ordered a copy off Amazon and gave it to me my freshman year of college.

The second time I read it, I finished it in a couple of hours.

It made me cry both times.

The plot does fail to explain itself. Something deep and wonderful is going on just beyond the pag
Apr 24, 2016 Michele rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Charming story about a star reborn as a dog on Earth as punishment for some transgression. Kathleen, the little girl who adopts him, comes from a family remarkably like the Dursleys from Harry Potter; she's mistreated and abused, but together she and Leo help each other vanquish their respective enemies.

Much of the story is told through the dog's eyes, and Jones does a lovely job with this -- the part where Leo/Sirius is a puppy is especially affecting, as are the other dogs that we meet in the
colleen the fabulous fabulaphile

A cute little 'girl and her dog' story which doesn't stoop to being over sentimental or uses cheap heart-tugging ploys (which, admittedly, tend to work on me).

As the description says, the star Sirius - the dog star, of course - is charged with a crime and is sentenced to life as a dog on Earth, where he has to find the Zoi and put the piece together of his missing memory. But he has two natures know - his star nature and his dog nature, and he has to combine both to learn his lesson and find
Jul 31, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Heather by: Megan
What if the stars weren't just distant balls of gas: what if each one had, or might have, a "denizen," a being who inhabited its sphere? What if these denizens had their own lives, their own politics, courts, and jealousies? That's part of the premise of this novel, which the flap-copy describes, sort of cheesily but also accurately, as a book that is "a tense, exciting, science-fiction fantasy, a thriller, and a touching dog story all in one." Sirius, the dog star, has been found guilty of murd ...more
Feb 28, 2015 Basia rated it it was amazing
I love Diana Wynne Jones so much, and this book didn't disappoint. Her world-building is always so effortless and detailed, and you never feel like she doesn't know what she's talking about. One thing this book really drove home for me, though, is how good she is at writing her characters. The cover of my edition calls her Queen of the Fantastic, and it's very, very true, but another thing I love about DWJ is how she writes people. Her characters always read like real people instead of like peop ...more
May 06, 2016 Booked rated it it was amazing
Welp, there went my day. I picked up this book. And I could not put down this book. Why is Diana Wynne Jones so good? Why are her particular combinations of words magic for my brain?

In case you're wondering, I loved this. I just wish I had discovered it earlier, and that this had been my tenth reading instead of my first.
I read somewhere that this was a must-read for dog lovers but I wasn't actually impressed with the dog character. An interesting premise; Sirius the dog star is sent to Earth as a dog to find something(a zoi, similar to a meteor) he was blamed for sending hurtling to Earth in a fit of rage. I think it could've been better, maybe by making the object an actual meteor as opposed to some made up object with mysterious powers. Maybe I just don't like sci-fi. I did like the little girl, who adopted S ...more
Apr 15, 2016 Doreen rated it liked it
my first completed diana wynne jones' book. i wonder if it is because the main character became a dog… a great deal of imagination is required to assist in reading this book. not to mention patience…
Oct 12, 2015 Ruth rated it really liked it
My one complaint about Diana Wynne Jones' books is that they're over too soon. I always wish they were two or three times as long as they are.
Bryan Summers
Wonderful and true and awe inspiring and awe full. The ending is as satisfactory as an ending can be.
Jul 08, 2015 Eva rated it it was amazing
Wish I knew about this book when I was a kid. Magical and charming without the saccharin. Wonderful story.
Fantastic - all the feels for this
Feb 20, 2014 Tara rated it really liked it
Definitely one of the more unique books I've read in a very long time.
Apr 15, 2016 Dlora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marvelous, wonderful story for youth or adults. I loved it. I also loved the introduction by Neil Gaiman. In fact, he summarized the story so much better than I could that I am including it here: "This is the story of the Dog Star, Sirius, who is punished for a crime by being incarnated as a real dog, here on Earth. It's a detective story, and an adventure; it's a fantasy, and sometimes it's science fiction, and then it breaks all the rules by twining myth into the mix as well, and does it so we ...more
Dec 09, 2015 Cammie rated it it was amazing
I was excited to read a novel by Diana Wynne Jones because I’ve read and love the Chrestomanci series and Howl’s Moving Castle, but when I began reading, I realized this was going to be a little bit of a different kind of book. We’re thrown haphazardly into Sirius’s life, a star who has been framed and sentenced to live as a dog on Earth to find the Zoi, a power source of some kind that Sirius, as a dog, neither understands nor remembers. We’re not sure what’s going on or what exactly Si
Heidi Grether
Nov 02, 2015 Heidi Grether rated it liked it
Shelves: engl-420

This mixture of science fiction and fantasy features Sirius, a luminary, who is framed for the crime of killing another luminary with a Zoi. As punishment, he is sent to Earth in the form of a dog as a sort of probation. If he can find the Zoi while in this form before the dog dies, he will be restored to his luminary position. While a dog, his owner is Kathleen who is under the custody of her horrid aunt. Throughout the book, Sirius learns of himself and befriends Kathleen. In t
Kayli Jorgensen
Oct 10, 2015 Kayli Jorgensen rated it liked it
Shelves: eng-420

This was a very interesting book, and different from anything I'd ever read before. The premise, that a star or luminary (Sirius) is sent from the heavens to earth to reclaim an item of great power, was an extremely original idea for a fantasy novel. The story follows Sirius as he becomes a dog on earth and befriends a young Irish girl who lives with her hateful aunt and her family in England. He communicates with the sun, moon, and earth as he tries to find the item, a zoi, and reclaim
Brit Wilson
Dec 15, 2014 Brit Wilson rated it it was amazing
Let me begin by saying that I am not really a dog person. I'm more of a crazy cat lady type. So, I wasn't really sure if I was going to be able to enjoy this book. I was pleasantly surprised about two things one of which is that I really enjoyed this book. The second thing is that after reading this book I kind of wanted a dog, a desire I've never really had in my life. The cover it can be to Sirius/Leo in this book that I can get, the better. If this book had not been assigned, I might have put ...more
Dec 15, 2014 Kirsten rated it liked it
Shelves: eng-356-17-25
The whole concept of a former star of power in a now powerless dog's body is genius in a literary sense. The way Diana Wynne Jones captured the essence of the dog's behaviors coupled with Sirius's thoughts was well written. After reading this I couldn't help but wonder what my dogs were thinking, what secret behaviors they preformed while I was away during the day. The plot was engaging and fast paced. I don't tend to gravitate towards fantasy, yet this book may have changed my mind on that. I l ...more
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Flights of Fantasy: November 2015 - YA/MG: Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones 15 26 Jun 21, 2016 09:27AM  
  • Bridle the Wind (Felix Brooke, #2)
  • Grimbold's Other World
  • Wizard's Hall
  • The Hounds of the Mórrígan
  • The Changeover
  • Carbonel: The King of Cats (Carbonel, #1)
  • Mairelon the Magician (Mairelon, #1)
  • A Book Dragon
  • The Starlight Barking (The Hundred and One Dalmatians, #2)
  • Singularity
  • Tamsin
  • Dragonhaven
  • A Hidden Magic
  • Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars
  • Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness (Moribito, #2)
  • Flora's Dare (Flora Trilogy, #2)
  • Old Peter's Russian Tales
  • The Book of Night with Moon (Cats of Grand Central, #1)
Diana Wynne Jones was the author of more than thirty critically acclaimed fantasy stories, including the Chrestomanci series and the novels Howl's Moving Castle and Dark Lord of Derkholm.

For Diana Wynne Jones's official autobiography, please see
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“Polaris often remarks to Sol that Sirius loses his temper much less often these days. But the one sure way to send him into a flaming rage is to suggest that he finds a new Companion. Sirius will not hear of it. The small white sphere circling his goes untenanted, because he hopes that what Miss Smith said is true.” 7 likes
“Being a child of Earth means more than you think,” 0 likes
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