Archive for 'Diana Wynne Jones'

Dog Star Rising
by Our Guest on June 8th, 2009

Today we’re excited to have author Jeri Smith-Ready with us talking about this week’s topic, our favorite childhood books.

Jeri will be stopping by throughout the day, so leave a comment or question for her and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of her latest romantic urban fantasy, BAD TO THE BONE, which features the vampire dog Dexter, among other dark and devoted heroes.

Smith-Ready pours plenty of fun into her charming, fang-in-cheek urban fantasy. — Publishers Weekly, starred review


By Jeri Smith-Ready

Thanks to Jessa for inviting me to join you ladies on your fabulous blog! I was thrilled when she told me the topic, because I always relish the opportunity to dish about books I love, especially lesser known ones like DOGSBODY by Diana Wynne Jones.

I rediscovered my favorite childhood book only last year. I couldn’t remember the title or author, just that it was about Sirius the Dog Star, a short-tempered Luminary (a sort of deity) who was framed for murder and sentenced to live out the life of a dog on Earth. After almost an hour of searching online, I found the now-out-of-print book and ordered a used copy. There was much rejoicing.

I then had the pleasure of reading this book out loud to my own dog as she recovered from back surgery last December. It seemed to soothe her to put her head in my lap and listen to my voice. She didn’t even care how gracelessly I switched between the English and Irish accents.

Anyway, the book. The reader experiences everything through the mind of Sirius as he is born blind and deaf (and very, very hungry!), and then is tossed in a river with the rest of his mongrel brothers and sisters. He survives this ordeal with the help of the sun (Sol, who along with the Moon and Earth will later become a friend and helper) and is rescued by Kathleen, an Irish girl living with her English cousins while her father serves a prison term for his part in “the Troubles.”

As Sirius grows up, he realizes/remembers he’s more than just a dog, and that one of the reasons he’s been sent to Earth is to find a dangerous luminary weapon known as the Zoi. Problem is, he doesn’t know what it looks like or where to find it. Moreover, the pursuit of his quest tends to be sidetracked by things like butcher shops and bitches in heat. He is, after all, still a dog, and at first he laments his corporeal limitations. But when he faces an ancient power as old as the earth itself, it’s the love he inspires in his adopted family that ultimately sees him through his darkest hours.

DOGSBODY was the perfect novel for my nine-year-old self, for I loved animals and astronomy. But it’s a book that filled Grownup Jeri with as much wonder as it did Kid Jeri. As an adult, I was better able to appreciate the ambitious task Jones undertook in her attempt to marry a girl-meets-dog story with astro-mythical elements, plus a dash of Celtic legends.

To this day, I adore animals, and Sirius is still my favorite star (not to mention my choice in satellite radio carriers). I even married an astronomer and convinced him to adopt a dog. Talk about childhood dreams coming true!


Jeri can be found at and most often these days at, along with the WVMP Radio series main characters Ciara Griffin ( and Shane McAllister (