I feel that although there have been some fantasy dogs in the past few years, cats and squirrels have been the clear front-runner animal protagonists. So even though I myself am a cat person, it was a nice change to sit down with a good magical dog!
Nosewise, the titular hero of The Wizard's Dog, by Eric Kahn Gale (Crown Books for Young Readers, middle grade, January 2017), is a very magical dog indeed, although he doesn't at first recognize his own gifts. His master, Merlin, and Merlin's apprentice, Morgana, have kept him shut out of the study where they do their own magics, but Nosewise is determined to be just as good at tricks as Morgana. He has no clue what their words mean, but he is sure he can learn to do the amazing magical things Morgana can. And when Morgana hangs a magical stone around his neck, Nosewise finds that he can talk and understand human speech. Now there's no holding him back!
And this is a good thing, because when Merlin and Morgana are kidnapped by the fae, who have taken power of a good bit of the mortal world, it's up to Nosewise to find them, and rescue them from the dark magic that has surrounded them. Along the way, Nosewise befriends a good hearted boy named Arthur, and together they follow the trail to the place where the sword in the stone is waiting...
The story is told from Nosewise's doggish point of view, which makes it a fun twist on the Arthur legend. Nosewise's own magic is likewise of a doggish bent, with the nose being crucial, as one would expect. And the conclusion, in which Nosewise shows just what a Good Dog he is, is a lovely twist on the legend!
Give this one to lovers of dogs and medieval magic stories--they will love it.
disclairmer: review copy received from the publisher