Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dogsbody” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.08  ·  Rating details ·  6,524 ratings  ·  590 reviews
A funny, heartbreaking, stunning book by the legendary Diana Wynne Jones—with an introduction by Neil Gaiman.

The Dog Star, Sirius, is tried - and found guilty - by his heavenly peers for a murder he did not commit. His sentence: to live on the planet Earth until he can carry out a seemingly impossible mission - the recovery of a deadly weapon known as the Zoi. The first le
Kindle Edition, 254 pages
Published April 12th 2012 by Firebird (first published 1975)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dogsbody, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,524 ratings  ·  590 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Dogsbody
Jun 29, 2010 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
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Dogsbody” by Diana Wynne Jones, In this universe, every celestial body is inhabited by an intelligent entity; in the case of stars, they're called luminaries. A luminary is not a solemn, grand tutelary angel, a luminary isn't just another mortal entity,. Luminaries have as much variation of personality as humans do, and in the case of stars, the star is merely the sphere that the luminary inhabits and is responsible for, not its physical body.

Sirius is notorious for his fiery temper; when he's
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
T.L. Bodine
Dec 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-england
A short and beautifully written story about a celestial being falsely accused of murder who is sentenced to live on earth in the body of a dog.
Yet this is so much more than a murder mystery where the main character tries to return to his previous life. It's about someone sensing for the first time the natural world around him with all of its sights and smells(the latter a particularly vivd and wonderfully written).
Most of all its a touching story of the bond between a young girl who is mistre
Joaquin Mejia
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I noticed that the Diana Wynne Jones novels that I have read would usually feature a few animal characters that would help the protagonist in some way. In "Dogsbody" however, the animal character takes center stage. The book tells the story of a star called Sirius who is sent to Earth as a dog as a penalty for a crime he did not do. He will need to look for an object called the Zoi in order to return to his star form.

This novel is a fun story about animals, children, and celestial beings. It is
Nov 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Plucked out of the way-back machine (based upon the compelling recommendation of none other than Neil Gaiman, in his collected non-fiction View From the Cheap Seats, which, of course, was originally the introduction to modern version of Dogsbody that I read), this short, quick, but more importantly interesting and different period piece was a fortuitous find. There's a lot going on here - mostly fantasy, a dabble of sci-fi, a dollop of British-Irish historical tension and ugliness, families, los ...more
Luke Taylor
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What an outstanding book! Perfect for dog or cat owners, or anyone who likes a magical adventure, Dogsbody is everything you hope it could be and more. Topsy-turvy and whip smart, fun and engaging, faced-paced and well-detailed, deep and heartwarming, Dogsbody is a wonderful example of a gifted storyteller weaving her unforgettable magic and hitting every color and flavor in the spectrum along the way. If Diana Wynne Jones isn't one of your favorite authors, I must ask...why not? Many thank ...more
Kaethe Douglas
How does one write sympathetically of animals without going all the way over the line and putting them in waistcoats? Or realistically, without killing them off right away? It's tricky, and a little trippy, but a very cool result. ...more
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 4th to 8th graders who like fantasy (though it's not very fantastical)
Shelves: 2020
Reread 7/26/20:
I re-read this using my library's ebook app, along with a beautiful introduction by Neil Gaiman I hadn't read before. I should add, I am also coming back from a week with my partner's family and their big, fluffy dog. I started sobbing as soon as I finished it. It's so well done and rewards reading on its multiple levels. Now that I am giving up Harry Potter, it's a joy to revisit an author who was just as formative to me in my early teen years. (Even the Classical and British nam
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
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
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is quite strange and good, however every cover ever has been horrible so how am I going to convince any children at the library to read it?!?
Lara Hu

It has nothing to do with the fact that I am a cat person that I didn't really enjoy this one. I like dogs well enough but I felt this story lacked the humour, charm and unique style of Diana Wynne Jones.

For the most of it, I felt quite bored with the story. There was too much day to day activity from the perspective of a dog and not enough about Sirius' star side. Everything I found interesting about this book was just vastly underexplored - the whole hierarchy in the solar system, the cold d
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is there anything worse—or better—than a book where the correct and satisfying ending is also heartbreakingly sad? This is a beautiful story about how a star learned how to be a dog, and by learning how to be a dog learned what real love is, and also saved the world. Diana Wynne Jones gives us a vision of the universe where the unseen world of the stars and the earth and moon teems with life right next to ours, where the mundane and the celestial collide and intersect. If you read the edition wi ...more
Sol appraised him, suffusing him with warmth. "That body they put you in isn't more than half-grown yet. You'll have to wait till it's older before you can remember properly. But I'm glad you know who you are now. I need your help, and I hope I can help you."
Sirius gazed up at him dubiously. "Don't get into trouble. I can't do anything to help you. And if you help me, you may find the high effulgents objecting."
"To blazes with that!" Sol was furious. Rays of anger, intense and white, stood out a
May 01, 2014 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
I know that Diana Wynne Jones is this big important writer for the fantasy genre. I know that I was supposed to like this and I know that I’m supposed to be grateful to her or something.

Despite this knowledge, I was not super fond of this book.

Dogsbody follows the star Sirius, who in the first chapter is on trial for some bizarre offense involving a Zoi and his companion. It's vague. His judges are other celestial bodies, and his sentence forces him to Earth, where he is to live as a dog and fin
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ya-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carol Nicolas
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
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
Viki Holmes
Yet again Diana Wynne Jones has the power to make me cry. Yet again she shows her total understanding of the human condition by writing about something beyond it. Dogsbody is a gorgeous book: the Dogstar, Sirius, imprisoned in the body of a puppy as punishment for an act not his fault. The tale of his time as a dog on Earth is both quest for justice, rite of passage and journey towards understanding - both of the world he must inhabit and of his own self-realisation. Insightful, heart-breaking a ...more
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dying2read
Be sure to take Neil Gaiman's Introduction advice seriously.

Excellent fantasy mystery. Loved the slow revelation of Sirius's transformation from a heavenly to an earthly creature.

I gather this is a bit darker for Diana Wynne Jones. (May be a bit disturbing for the younger children.)

If you love fantasy I recommend this one.

Go on, run with the hounds!
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Diana Wynne Jones just has a way of understanding life and people and creatures that is utterly fascinating and this is a wonderful example of this. With a story I would have probably not even regarded by any other author I, instead of being sceptical, read the book in one sitting.
I was going to rate this four stars but I've been crying my eyes out for most of it so I can't help and give it five. I don't know how she does it but her books are pure magic
Bryan Summers
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful and true and awe inspiring and awe full. The ending is as satisfactory as an ending can be.
Mandi Connell
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Diana Wynne Jones book that got me right in the feels.
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't Jones' best book, but it delivered on a lot of fronts. The star Sirius is framed for a murder he did not commit and is sentenced to live in the body of a dog on the planet Earth. At first, he doesn't remember much about his life as a star, and struggles to survive in a suburban England that can be a hostile and abusive environment for a helpless puppy. His original owner attempts to drown him and the rest of his litter, but Sirius survives, and is rescued by Kathleen, herself a victim ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The 13 Clocks
  • The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction
  • Comet's Tale: How the Dog I Rescued Saved My Life
  • The Burglar in the Library (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #8)
  • The Empty Pot
  • Swamp Thing: Twin Branches
  • Beneath the Haunting Sea (Beneath the Haunting Sea, #1)
  • Dune: the Graphic Novel, Book 1
  • A Ticket to the Boneyard (Matthew Scudder, #8)
  • A Dance At The Slaughterhouse (Matthew Scudder, #9)
  • The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, #1)
  • The Arkadians
  • Mrs. Pepperpot to the Rescue: And Other Stories
  • Intrigue In The Village (Tales from Turnham Malpas #10)
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: A Graphic Novel
  • Measuring Up
  • The Starward Light: And Other Tales (The Summer King Chronicles Book 5)
  • The Portal (Tangled in Time #1)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Diana was born in London, the daughter of Marjorie (née Jackson) and Richard Aneurin Jones, both of whom were teachers. When war was announced, shortly after her fifth birthday, she was evacuated to Wales, and thereafter moved several times, including periods in Coniston Water, in York, and back in London. In 1943 her family finally settled in Thaxted, Essex, where her parents worked running an ed ...more

Related Articles

If you love the fantasy genre, this is the season for you! Some of the biggest books out this fall promise to be epics full of magic, adventure,...
196 likes · 50 comments
“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,” 2 likes
More quotes…