- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 2 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Holiday House (September 1, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0823428699
- ISBN-13: 978-0823428694
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,094,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Misadventures of the Magician's Dog Hardcover – September 1, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4-6–Because he is afraid of dogs, Peter is shocked when he hears himself asking for one for his 12th birthday. Later, after bringing one home from a shelter, he is stunned to learn that his new pet actually talks. The Dog tells Peter that he needs help in releasing his previous owner, a magician, from a terrible spell. The Dog will, in return, teach Peter magic, which could help bring his father home from deployment in the Middle East. As Peter's practice of magic improves and deepens, he realizes that he is a better wizard when he is angry, and he has to confront his feelings about his father's absence. Peter's siblings also become involved with the attempts to free the magician. Peter's relationships are realistic. The resolution to the psychological pain of missing his father rings true and the magical plot presents adventure and an exciting climax. Fantasy fans will enjoy this story, and the fast-moving plot will engage reluctant readers.–Tina Martin, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, ILα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
When his twelfth birthday rolls around, even Peter is surprised to hear himself asking for a dog. He doesn’t even like dogs. After selecting the scruffiest mutt at the shelter, he learns that The Dog actually chose him—to become a magician in order to free his former owner (another magician) from a malevolent life. Peter, still dealing with his father’s recent deployment overseas, learns his anger can powerfully boost his magic, but at a terrible cost. His only hope is to find another source of strength within himself. The family relationships, particularly among Peter and his two younger sisters, are well drawn, and The Dog is an appealing, original character. Though some sections of the writing seem more studied than organic, Sackett creates sympathetic characters and rousing action scenes. The fantasy, which includes magical elements from flying at night to dinosaur attacks, is grounded by the realistic setting. The eye-catching jacket features the three kids, The Dog, and a T. rex. Grades 4-6. --Carolyn Phelan
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Now I'm a little biased because the author is a friend, so I gave the book to my 10-year-old son and he loves it as well.
If you have a school-aged child, this is a great book for them.
Oh, and Peter is afraid of dogs. So, absolutely nothing surprises him more than hearing his mouth say that he wants a dog for his birthday. A trip to the shelter results in them bringing home The Dog. The Dog is no ordinary dog. He can talk and he tells Peter that he was a magician's assistant. He tells Peter that he can be a magician too.
The Dog wants Peter to rescue his magician who has been turned into a rock. Peter would like to be a magician so that he could bring his dad home. But things aren't that easy. In order to do magic, Peter has to become angry and has to let the anger change him and take over his life. The Dog says that is the cost of doing magic. The Dog says that his boy was once a nice kid but becoming a magician turned him into someone who does nasty things just because he can.
Peter doesn't know if the benefits of becoming a magician would be worth what it would cost him. He doesn't want to be angry all the time and he certainly doesn't want to hurt people. But he really wants his dad back home with the family. It takes some scary things, like dinosaurs coming to life and threatening his sisters, before Peter finds a way to do the right thing.
I really liked this story. I thought it had enough adventure and excitement to encourage middle graders to read it and I thought it had a really good message too. I will be buying this one for my elementary media center this fall. Sackett is a debut author to watch.
Peter is a relatable and imperfect protagonist, "ordinarily good," and his sisters Celia and Izzy make great sidekicks. Their dynamic as a family, especially one whose dad is far away and whose mom is busy working, keeps this story fun and modern, as well as emotional but without being too precious. They fight and make up and they judge each other as siblings do, but at the end of the day (magic is best done under cover of darkness, or people will ask questions!) they are family and they stick together. Sackett balances their comic sibling antics with Peter's introspection as he tries to determine what is right and what is wrong, in the middle of feeling shut out, left behind, and just plain wrong.
The Dog is a new member of the family and he's quite enigmatic. As he reveals more about what he can do and why it is possible for Peter to do magic, Peter discovers things about himself--and he doesn't like some of these revelations. Why was he so mean to his dad the morning he left for his deployment? Why do his daily emails make him feel awkward and useless? Why did dad have to go in the first place, and shouldn't he work hard to learn magic to bring him back? Throughout the book, he struggles with figuring out what is the right thing to do, but whereas ordinary good decisions seem pretty obvious, extraordinary ones are a little harder to discern.
Eventually, the kids discover the limits and consequences of using magic. They discover a creepy house filled with enchanted servants and--gulp!--dinosaurs. Their mission is to save the magician from himself, but who will save them? You'll have to read it to find out. The Misadventures of the Magician's Dog uses humor, flights of fancy, and family values to tell a story that is both insightful and entertaining. For an excerpt, visit the publisher's website. (Full disclosure--I'm the author's web designer. Cross-posted at Read Now Sleep Later)
There were several times that we couldn't stop after just one chapter & had to extend bedtime a bit to find out what happened. In fact, we just read the last three chapters all at once!
My son immediately asked me if there is a second book so we can find out what happens to Peter and his family. The only flaw with this book is that it has no sequel!