Aggie and Ben are back for a new adventure. Ben takes a restless Aggie to the park for a friendly game of fetch. When oh, oh the ball is thrown a little too far and Aggie gets lost!
The story of a dog being lost and found is perennial. What sets this book apart from others is the simple and emotionally packed writing, complementary pen/ink/watercolor drawings, and the inclusion of a specially gifted friend that helps Ben. The last item was a refreshing surprise, which I will let you discover.
This early reader book has short simple sentences, but they are packed with action and emotion. Take for instance the next few lines which “show” how Ben is going to throw a ball that ends up going far, far away.
“Okay, Aggie. Here is a hard ball,” I say.
I wind my arm fast. I throw the ball.
It flies up, up, up, and far, far away.
I cannot see my red ball.
Here is an example where the reader is led through Ben’s emotions over Aggie in Chapter 2 “The Awful Night”.
I look out the window.
“Where are you, Aggie?” I whisper.
I see a wishing star. I wish hard.
“I wish Aggie was not lost!”
I feel sadder.
What if Aggie is not lost?
What if she ran away?
What if Aggie was not happy?
I loved this chapter where you see Ben go from being sad that Aggie is lost, to wondering if maybe Aggie ran away, to being annoyed over Aggie’s habits, and finally remembering the good times.
The layout of the book is well suited for beginning readers. Almost every sentence is on its own line. Sentence length is between five to ten words. The illustrations are simple with clean lines and vary from a couple of small pictures on a page up to two-page spreads.
The author does a a great job of bringing Ben to life, making it really easy for this reader to become emotionally engaged from the beginning (remember I am not even a pet person). The wonderful illustrations and writing style had me treasuring every page. Check out the previous books in the series, I especially liked the first book Aggie and Ben: Three Stories.
Recommendation: Add to Home Library
Author: Lori Reis
Illustrator: Frank W. Dormer
NOTE: This book was nominated by Jeff Barger for the 2011 Cybils Awards in the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. I am a first-round panelist in this category, but this review reflects my opinions only, not those of any other panelist, or the panel as a whole. Thanks!