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4.07  ·  Rating details ·  5,649 Ratings  ·  492 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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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
Jul 23, 2008 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 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
Rebecca McNutt
Dogsbody has so many strange and magical fantasy elements in its vast realm of a story. I loved the author's quaint writing style, too.
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
Jan 12, 2009 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
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wolfed it down in a day - pun intended! A nice, light read.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: animals, fantasy
Definitely aimed at a younger audience than the others of Jones's books I've read, but that doesn't mean it shies away from intensity: there's plenty here to engage the older reader, including the ending, which I did not expect.
Written in the 1970's Dogsbody tells a story of a young Irish girl who adopts a dog found half drowned in the river. He is not a dog though - but the Luminary Sirius of the Dogstar who has been banished from his sphere after losing his temper and losing a powerful tool that has become lost in Earth.

Diana Wynne Jones creates this universe (well... actually she takes a universe that already exists and gives it some character...) and instantly manages to create this whole world and system with a fe
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
Aug 01, 2009 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
Carol Nicolas
Jul 02, 2014 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
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
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-books, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book had a lot of potential. A star, the star in our night sky, Sirius, is found guilty of murder and is banished to earth as a puppy. And he has to find the way back home. Really interesting, unique premise.

The problem I have is that this book has dated. The gender roles, the casual racism, the changing words that mean calling a 9 year old girl "sluttish" really doesn't work for me.

However, usually I get annoyed at the end of books. This book however totally pulled it together at the end.
I remember reading this book as a child and loving it. I believe my early fascination with the universe can be directly attributed to reading this book. Interestingly enough, though, we became serial cat owners, never a dog. I think that was more my parents though.

I digress.

I always find it challenging to pick up a book beloved by my childhood self, because I want to preserve the magic of the book from my cynical, adult self. This book holds up wonderfully, and it's a definite reread, as well.
Laura Gilfillan
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! An intriguing story of Sirius, a luminary accused of murder. For his sentence he is banished to Earth as a dog and must accomplish a seemingly impossible task or he will die as a dog. Along the way of the twisting plot there is no end of excitement, intrigue, and fantasy, all with a touching dog story thrown in.
Amy Bird
I loved it. Diana Wynne Jones has an uncanny knack for taking ridiculous concepts and turning them into something truly touching.
colleen the convivial curmudgeon

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 27, 2010 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
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Flights of Fantasy: November 2015 - YA/MG: Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones 14 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 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
More about Diana Wynne Jones

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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,” 2 likes
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