The Wizard's Dog Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-11-06 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 18 user ratings

" I read this book for my library job so that I could write questions for our local school district's Battle of the Books program, and I think it is a book that middle graders would really enjoy. Filled with magic, a very sweet and loyal talking dog, fairies, and wizards, this is a classic tale that incorporates fun from the legends of the sword, Excalibur, with laughs along the way. " said.

" A fresh spin on the classic tale of Merlin and Arthur. Told by Nosewise, a dog taken in by Merlin, he discovers that things aren't as they seem with Merlin and Morganna. When Merlin and Morganna are taken away, Nosewise pairs up with Arthur, a poor lad who cleans out chamber pots and they set off on an unforgettable adventure. I can't wait to read the next book in this delightful series. " said.

" This was a cute take on Merlin, King Arthur, and the Sword in the Stone...from a dog's point of view. A dog who can do magic. Things sometimes get a little annoying (Oberon's constant rhyming) and sometimes get a little cheesy (I kept hearing the live television audience "awwwww" in my head), but the adventures Nosewise has while trying to rescue Merlin--particular once he's teamed up with Arthur--are rather enjoyable. " said.

" Cute story. The idea of tying in a dog to the story of Arthur was fun, and I liked the setting and characters. The story was interesting, and I enjoyed Nosewise's personality and character. I must say, though, that Woof did a much better job at representing a dog's point of view. " said.

"This review originally appeared on my blog,


THE WIZARD’S DOG is a fun fantasy romp full of magic and adventure. It’s narrated by Nosewise the dog, who has an excellent nose and a talent for magic. When I was younger, I loved books written from the perspectives of animals, and Nosewise rekindled that love.

Nosewise is curious as to why Merlin and Morgana spend all day in the study. He picked up his tricks quickly enough, why do they need so much more practice? When Nosewise learns some magic of his own, he’s the only one capable of rescuing Merlin after the wizard is kidnapped. So he sets off on the adventure of a lifetime, aided by his capable nose and brain.

THE WIZARD’S DOG is, as I said above, a fun book. Nosewise’s observations about humans are amusing, his travels are quite the adventure and learning experience, and he gets in and out of trouble like, well, a dog. I liked that the author kept Nosewise a dog -- sure, he’s smart, but he can’t see all colors and he thinks poo is great. He’s loyal to the humans that deserve it; there’s even a little about animal abuse mentioned.

I do wish the Nosewise on the cover looked less silly, because my younger self might have passed this book up because of his comical appearance. Yeah, he’s funny, but he and this story are more than that.

THE WIZARD’S DOG is an enjoyable, unique take on Merlin, Arthur, and the Sword in the Stone, starring one very special dog. I know this is a standalone, but I gotta say, I’d like to see more of Nosewise!


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration; this did not influence my review in any way.

See more of my reviews:
" said.

"The dog Nosewise narrates this first book in a series. The wizard of the title is Merlin, who rescued Nosewise after a cruel master left him tethered to a tree. Nosewise meets pre-teen Arthur in a castle where Arthur serves as "Poop boy," the lowest kind of servant of the tyrant, Lord Destrian. Nosewise estimates Arthur's age as twelve. Lovers of T. H. White's The Once and Future King will notice a slight parallel to Wart's job caring for the hounds in his youth.

Elements of high fantasy dominate this story for young readers: magic, talking animals, portals between parallel worlds (mortal and Fae). Illustrations by Dave Phillips emphasize the positive characters, showing but downplaying the magical objects such as Merlin's staff and stones called Asteria. An Asteria allows Nosewise to speak English, an ability that initially startles the people he encounters. His first sentence is, "This makes me feel strange."

Gale blends Nosewise's dog's sense of smell smoothly into the plot, such as his tracking ability to follow the kidnapped Merlin's path into the Otherworld inhabited by the Fae. Nosewise often counts on his "Mind's Nose" as his magical talent slowly develops.

Guinevere appears briefly in this novel as the daughter of the tavern-keeper Leodegrance. Both of them reappear at the start of the second novel in the series, The Wizard's Dog Fetches the Grail. Nosewise describes her initially, “She was about Arthur’s age and smelled like fresh milk” despite the tavern environment.

The legend, history, and retrieval of the magical sword Excalibur also tie the story to some traditional parts of the Arthurian tradition. The Lady of the Lake, here named Nivian, describes its destiny: "Only a worthy soul who loves man and would never do him harm might take it…it grants its wielder strength and skill."
" said.


Filled with descriptive similes and personifications, A Wizard’s Dog is a creative introduction to classical literary figures like Merlin, Morgana, Arthur (circa Sword from the Stone/Excalibur), all from Nosewise’s (that cute pooch on the cover!) POV.
Nosewise is an extraordinary dog in a typical canine way. So kudos to the author for getting into a dog’s head and explaining why humans are strange beings and why Nosewise is smarter than us. He debated the simple confusion about “stranger danger” and how some strangers are harmless and good, a topic that parents reading to or with children can discuss in more depth.
Nosewise is our hero, but he is not thrusted into the role because of a prophecy or devine intervention. He simply wants his master to return and resume life as his best friend (and feed him, probably!)
Although I am a cat person by life’s funny coincidences (no pooper scooper needed, walks in inclement weather, dirty paws to clean off the floors), I indulged in this delightful retelling.
Listening to the author’s note at the end - where he also feels dogs are above felines (who can clean themselves) was worth losing a star, but my cats rolled their eyes and giggled at the delusion, so I allowed the rating to remain.
Graham Halstead, narrator, like Nosewise, was extraordinary. His voice talents surpassed my expectations and was comparable to the voices of our icons from when I was the Made for TV movie Merlin (which I have on DVD and still love, nearly 2 decades later.) It was easy to know who was speaking during my constant pauses while I listened and tended to real life.
A highly recommended family friendly book. Excellent story telling, fascinating characters (cheer the heroes and boo the villains), easy to follow plots, and creative world building for those new or familiar with the medieval setting. A Wizard’s Dog was thoroughly edited and stands as a proud accomplishment for author Eric Kahn Gale.
" said.

" The time of King Arthur, from a dog's point of view? Sign me up! This book was silly, humorous, and heartwarming. Nosewise is my kind of dog! Fabulous story! " said.

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