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Dogsbody Mass Market Paperback – August 7, 2001

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTrophy (August 7, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064410382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064410380
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #978,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Praised by PW as "among the most rewarding novels available for readers of all ages," this fantasy tells of the difficult mission confronting Sirius the Dog Star when he is sentenced to be reborn on Earth. Ages 9-14.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Jones sees clearly and writes effectively and the girl-and-dog dtory is a sure, and never sticky, heart-tugger." -- Kirkus Reviews

More About the Author

In a career spanning four decades, award-winning author Diana Wynne Jones wrote more than forty books of fantasy for young readers. Characterized by magic, multiple universes, witches and wizards--and a charismatic nine-lived enchanter--her books were filled with unlimited imagination, dazzling plots, and an effervescent sense of humor that earned her legendary status in the world of fantasy. From the very beginning, Diana Wynne Jones's books garnered literary accolades: her novel Dogsbody was a runner-up for the 1975 Carnegie Medal, and Charmed Life won the esteemed Guardian children's fiction prize in 1977. Since then, in addition to being translated into more than twenty languages, her books have earned a wide array of honors--including two Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honors--and appeared on countless best-of-the-year lists. Her work also found commercial success: in 1992 the BBC adapted her novel Archer's Goon into a six-part miniseries, and her best-selling Howl's Moving Castle was made into an animated film by Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki in 2004. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006, and became one of the most financially successful Japanese films in history. The author herself has also been honored with many prestigious awards for the body of her work. She was given the British Fantasy Society's Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1999 for having made a significant impact on fantasy, received a D.Lit from Bristol University in 2006, and won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention in 2007.

Born just outside London in 1934, Diana Wynne Jones had a childhood that was "very vivid and often very distressing"--one that became the fertile ground where her tremendous imagination took root. When the raids of World War II reached London in 1939, the five-year-old girl and her two younger sisters were torn from their suburban life and sent to Wales to live with their grandparents. This was to be the first of many migrations, one of which brought her family to Lane Head, a large manor in the author-populated Lake District and former residence of John Ruskin's secretary, W.G. Collingwood. This time marked an important moment in Diana Wynne Jones's life, where her writing ambitions were magnified by, in her own words, "early marginal contacts with the Great." She confesses to having "offending Arthur Ransome by making a noise on the shore beside his houseboat," erasing a stack of drawings by the late Ruskin himself in order to reuse the paper, and causing Beatrix Potter (who also lived nearby) to complain about her and her sister's behavior. "It struck me," Jones said, "that the Great were remarkably touchy and unpleasant, and I thought I would like to be the same, without the unpleasantness." Prompted by her penny-pinching father's refusal to buy the children any books, Diana Wynne Jones wrote her first novel at age twelve and entertained her sisters with readings of her stories. Those early stories--and much of her future work--were inspired by a limited but crucial foundation of classics: Malory's Morte D'Arthur, The Arabian Nights, and Epics and Romances of the Middle Ages. Fantasy was Jones's passion from the start, despite receiving little support from her often neglectful parents. This passion was fueled further during her tenure at St. Anne's College in Oxford, where lectures by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis increased her fascination with myth and legend. She married Medievalist John Burrow in 1956; the couple have three sons and six grandchildren.

After a decade of rejections, Diana Wynne Jones's first novel, Changeover, was published in 1970. In 1973, she joined forces with her lifelong literary agent, Laura Cecil, and in the four decades to follow, Diana Wynne Jones wrote prodigiously, sometimes completing three titles in a single year. Along the way she gained a fiercely loyal following; many of her admirers became successful authors themselves, including Newbery Award winners Robin McKinley and Neil Gaiman, and Newbery Honor Book author Megan Whalen Turner. A conference dedicated solely to her work was held at the University of West England, Bristol, in 2009. Diana Wynne Jones continued to write during her battle with lung cancer, which ultimately took her life in March 2011. Her last book, Earwig and the Witch, will be published by Greenwillow Books in 2012.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This is one of my favorite books from my childhood, and I still read it every few years even now, but this pricing is absolutely unbelievable.
Although the story is very interesting and wonderfully told, what makes this book truly shine is how well the author conveys the relationships among the characters.
Marina Michaels
It is such an excellent story for all ages and I think it should definitely be apart of anyone's collection of favorite books--read it and you will see why!
Catalyna Reid

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 26, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rumor has it that the number one least appreciated and fantastic fantasy writer of the English language in the United States is Diana Wynne Jones. Rumor also has it that one of her best written works (little known) is the delightful "Dogsbody". Truthfully, I hadn't heard anyone give this book any credit until I decided to work my way through all the great unknown children's books. This book falls squarely into the slightly more adult kids fare (as will be explained) but that doesn't stop it from being a really wonderful work of art. This is one of those book gems one often wishes they could find but so rarely do. Beautifully written, it's a classic.

The great Dog Star Sirius is on trial for his life. Though we puny humans don't know it, the stars, planets, and even satellites have their own distinct lives and actions. When Sirius finds that he has been falsely accused of murder, he is sentenced to live out his days as a real honest-to-goodness dog on Earth. If he can locate a weapon of mass destruction belonging to the Luminaries that has fallen to earth and retrieve it in his doggie state, he will be returned to his original form. This is not only a story about learning to control one's own actions, but a touching tale of a girl and her not so ordinary pup.

Originally published in 1975, the book is one of those stories that make you sit up and say, "huh?". Where did Diana Wynne Jones even get this idea? Reading through this book I got the same feeling I received as when I saw the movie, "Being John Malcovich". Mainly, a sense of "how could a person think this up?". As it is, the book could easily have fallen victim to its fantasy elements. Instead, it's a wonderful tale of pet love. Both dogs AND cats get a fair amount of attention in this tale, so don't fear.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michele L. Worley on November 28, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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 as in Lewis' _Out of the Silent Planet_; on the other hand, a luminary isn't just another mortal entity, as with the Thinking Planets of some Star Trek novels. 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 accused of killing another luminary in a fit of rage for hanging around Sirius' Companion, he contaminates his own defense by losing his temper yet again, and as the story opens, a tribunal of other major luminaries is passing sentence on him. As Sirius is the viewpoint character (though not in first person), we're given the impression that his wrath is that of outraged innocence, but at first, we only learn that he's withholding facts that would make things look worse, and that the Judges are hoping to get a fuller story out of him. He's found guilty on 3 charges: murder; misusing a Zoi to commit the murder; and negligence (the Zoi was lost, thrown away to fall somewhere on Earth). But in view of his former high standing (and on grounds of temporary insanity), he's given a special suspended sentence of death: to be bound into a mortal body on Earth, where he must retrieve the Zoi to be reinstated. (We're given details about exactly what a Zoi is much later in the story: it's a very dangerous, sophisticated tool.)
When next Sirius wakes up, he's in the body of a newborn puppy in England.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Fiore on November 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Kathleen's mother is dead, and her father, an Irish terrorist, is in prison. She is living with her father's brother's family, in England. Despised by her peers for being Irish, despised by her aunt as an unwanted burden, she is a modern-day Cinderella.
Sirius is a star. We know of it as the dog star. In this fantasy, Sirius is a living being, that lives in the sphere of the star. He is in big trouble, accused of murdering a lesser star by using a celestial weapon to cause his sphere to go nova. Wrongly convicted of the murder, Sirius is condemned to a dog's life - and death - on Earth, unless he can find the missing weapon and return it to the stars.
The story of Kathleen and Sirius' relationship, and Sirius' quest to return to the skies is touching, funny, and amazingly believable. The tale is filled with adventures and trials, and has action enough to engage any kid. It also deals with poignant human relationships, and touches on legend in a manner guaranteed to engage most adults.
This is a wonderful story, and a great read for nearly anyone.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is very good. I was browsing in the book store, and came across this one... it looked interesting enough, and better yet the 'herione' of the story had my name, so what the heck. I began to read it on the plane, and couldn't put it down. I finished it in about two hours. It is an enthralling fantasey about Sirius, the dog-star, and how he is cast to live on Earth as a dog because he supposedly murdered another star. He was adopted by an Irish girl named Kathleen (that's me!)who lives with her aunt and uncle, who are Brits. This being so she often gets teased for being Irish. Sirius has to find a Zoi, which is a weapon he supposedly used to murder the other star. He gets help from Sol, the sun, and many other people like that group of four dogs, Bruce, Patchie, Redears, and someone else (I don't really remember who) who look just like him...pure white with red ears.
I didn't really like the ending, because it was pretty sad. I won't tell you what happens, but if you don't like sad endings, don't read this book. I cried, and had to force myself to read the remaining few pages. But even though the ending was sad, the whole book was awesomely written, and I totally advise you to read it. :)
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