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Aggie and Ben: Three Stories
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Aggie and Ben: Three Stories

by Lori Ries, Frank W. Dormer (Illustrator)

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Daddy takes Ben on a surprise trip to the pet store. Ben doesn't want a mouse, a snake, or even a cat. But when a certain puppy makes Ben laugh, a lasting friendship is formed. Three short chapters trace a day in the life of Ben and his new puppy, Aggie.


Daddy takes Ben on a surprise trip to the pet store. Ben doesn't want a mouse, a snake, or even a cat. But when a certain puppy makes Ben laugh, a lasting friendship is formed. Three short chapters trace a day in the life of Ben and his new puppy, Aggie.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This volume of three linked tales marks Dormer's children's book debut; an editorial illustrator, he adds a patina of hipness to Ries's (Super Sam!) sweet-natured, understated storytelling. The book opens as narrator Ben and his father head to the pet shop. The boy weighs the pros and cons of several candidates, as the pet store owner asks if each is the pet for him ("I think. A mouse would run through a tube. A mouse would sit on my hand. A mouse would hide in my pocket. But a mouse might get lost. `I do not think I want a mouse,' I say"). The charm comes through in the space between what the boy thinks and what he actually says, the silence filled with Dormer's panel illustrations. Ben picks a cute puppy he names Aggie. In the next tale, Ben tries to bond with Aggie by mimicking her behavior; this experiment comes to an abrupt close when Ben spots Aggie drinking from the toilet ("I am done being a dog"). The final story finds Ben and Aggie working out their mutual bedtime fears. "There is nothing scary," Ben coos on the final page as he snuggles his dog. "Just me and Aggie." Dormer's watercolor-and-ink drawings possess a schematic edginess and a sophisticated sense of framing. He pitches his pictures at just the right level for his audience, and skillfully keeps the visual pace percolating by interweaving broad humor (e.g., the toilet scene) with vivid action (in one frame, Aggie seems ready to leap off the page in pursuit of a ball) and moments of authentic tenderness. It's an impressive and original effort, and bodes well for a sequel. Ages 4-7. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Sara Lorimer
In the first chapter, Ben's dad takes him to a pet store. "Would you like a bird?" the woman in the store asks. Ben thinks about birds: one would sit on his finger and sing, but it could never play outside. "I do not think I want a bird," he answers. A mouse? A snake? A cat? Ben thinks about each animal and what they could and could not do. Finally: "Would you like a dog?" she asks. Yes! That's the right pet for him. He picks one out and names her Aggie. In the second chapter, Ben follows Aggie around the house, copying her. "Look, I'm a dog," he tells his mom. Aggie sniffs around her new home; Ben sniffs, too. Aggie jumps on the kitchen counter; Ben jumps, too. Aggie heads to the toilet bowl; Ben is "done being a dog." The third chapter starts with Ben getting ready for bed. After they're tucked in and his mom turns out the light, "Aggie sees something scary on the shelf." Ben turns on the light, shows her it's just a truck, and jumps back into bed. They run through this a few more times. Then Ben, in bed, in the dark, feels something tugging on the covers. He leaps out of bed and turns on the light... and it's just Aggie. He turns the light back out and they get into bed together. The stories are sweet (in a good way) and the cheerful and mildly retro illustrations are excellent (Dad looks like Alton Brown, which is amusing). This book would be great for children learning about pets or friendship, or just for an enjoyable storytime.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Ben lives every child's dream when Dad takes him on a surprise trip to the pet shop to select the animal of his choice. After contemplating his options and considering the sometimes-humorous consequences of each one ("-a snake might make Mommy scream"), he decides on a dog. Readers will chuckle through the chapter "Just Like Aggie" as Ben mimics the pup's routine of panting, sniffing, and playing chase but draws the line at drinking out of the toilet. Funky but tender, Dormer's pen-and-ink cartoons with watercolor washes add depth to the simple story and provide that perfect illustration-to-text match that one seeks in successful easy readers. If at a loss when seeking another recommendation for graduates of Cari Meister's "Tiny" books (Viking) and lovers of Cynthia Rylant's "Henry and Mudge" books (S & S), try Aggie and Ben. This unassuming tale will prove a welcome addition to any collection for emerging readers.-Jill Heritage Maza, Conn Elementary, Raleigh, NC Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.55(w) x 8.75(h) x 0.18(d)
120L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Lori Ries was born in Syracuse, New York, the eldest of four children. She discovered a love for storytelling as a young child and wrote her first story when she was just ten years old. It was a short story called "Jo-Jo the Raccoon" based on a true story about a baby raccoon that Lori's grandfather found on the side of the road and brought home for his children to raise. Lori lives in Tigard, Oregon, with her husband and three children.

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