By Awnali Mills
Nosewise is Merlin’s dog, and he despises doors. Doors stop him from going out when he needs to pee, and keep him out of his master’s workroom when Merlin and his apprentice Morgana are working. Nosewise just wants to be Included in things. Everything gets turned on its head when Nosewise discovers that he can do magic—actual magic!
But things quickly fall apart when Morgana gets mixed up with Lord Destrian and the Fae. Merlin is kidnapped, and Nosewise will do everything in his power to save his family. But will his power be enough to defeat Oberon?
I thought the premise of this book was interesting enough to invest the time to read it, but I wasn’t overly thrilled with it. Unlike Woof by Spencer Quinn, Gale can’t seem to figure out whether he wants Nosewise to be a dog, or a human in dog’s fur. I loved that he used phrases like “Mind’s Nose” instead of “mind’s eye,” and made a point of demonstrating that dogs don’t see the same as humans, but Nosewise is still more like a smart kid without hands than a dog. And it seemed weird to me that people weren’t more freaked out by a talking dog. After the initial, “Huh?” they were all about treating him like anyone else. They assumed that he was a person like them, except without hands. While I don’t mind the addition of a dog to the Arthurian legend, I don’t think it was done well. I grew up reading The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart, so I am admittedly prejudiced.
I wouldn’t mind giving the book to kids who just love fantasy and have run out of everything else, but it wouldn’t be my first go-to. It is nice and clean with relatively little violence considering how many fights there are in it. For grades 2-4.