Lori Ries, 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. Lori remained interested in writing and storytelling, and Lori eventually enrolled in the Institute of Children's Literature to pursue her love of writing. She began to bloom when she received a scholarship to the Highlights Foundation's Annual Writer's Workshop in Chautauqua, New York. Lori lives in Tigard, Oregon, with her husband and three children.
Read more about Lori.
Frank W. Dormer, illustrator
Frank Dormer has always loved telling stories through his art. An accomplished editorial illustrator, he made his children's book debut with Aggie and Ben. He lives in Branford, Connecticut, with his wife and their three children.
Read more about Frank.
- Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book
- Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year
- Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award
Chaos erupts in the canine classroom when rambunctious Aggie attends obedience training. When Aggie is expelled from dog school, Ben tries to independently teach his pet, but neighborhood distractions overwhelm the pooch. Active Aggie won't sit or stay until the boy finally pays heed to his blind neighbor'sadvice and substitutes playing fetch for rigid commands. Ben proves to be the responsible pet parent in the anticipated conclusion when he maturely announces,"You are not a bad dog. But you must learn." Slightly more complex in sentence structure and narrative than its predecessor (Aggie and Ben, 2006), this three-chapter story comically explores the budding friendship between a rowdy pet and her young owner. Dormer's exaggerated angular designs capture the frenzy in calculatedly disproportionate cartoons. Pen-and-ink and watercolors combine thin lines and bold colors to energize Aggie's antics. While undisciplined, Aggie is one lovable pup; with a slight turn of her large head and a flip of her lopsided ears, she demonstrates why dogs are known as children's best friends.
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Literature, starred review
"Aggie is a good dog," says her young owner, Ben, the narrator of this beginning reader. What Ben means by "good," however, isn't what most people mean by "good": lively Aggie is a disaster in obedience school and quadrupedal chaos when training at home. Just when it seems that Aggie's completely uncontrollable, Ben find the secret to teaching her manners. Though the story is a little one-note, Ries adds dimension with nice touches, such as Ben's friendly blind neighbor, who gives him some dog-training guidance; there's also a useful doggy truth in the solution, which is that different things motivate different dogs (it turns out Aggie's successful reinforcement is ball-chasing rather than treat-getting). As with Milgrim's My Dog, Buddy, reviewed above, dog training, with its repeated commands, proves to be an excellent subject for a restricted vocabulary text, and the book uses structure and repetition to build the humor. The line and watercolor art is exhilaratingly different from the usual early reader fare, with a touch of angry-child style in the scrawled faces and weird yet appealing blockiness in bodies of people and dog (Aggie is a veritable rectangle-fest). Novice readers will find this a fetching outing indeed.
School Library Journal
This early chapter book about a disobedient dog has plenty of humor and charm. Ben experiences a ton of trouble with his feisty friend, Aggie. While her antics are not particularly original, they will capture the interest of young readers, especially dog lovers. After the canine is dismissed from obedience school, the boy embarks on a training program of his own, determined to teach his pet to sit and stay. But Aggie chases a squirrel and a cat, and she goes wild in a hat store when she interprets her own image in a three-way mirror as three other dogs. Blind Mr. Thomas understands Aggie and advises patience. The quirky cartoon illustrations are delightful. For independent reading, this title works well with Maggie Stern's Singing Diggety (Scholastic, 2001). For a read-aloud unit on well-behaved and incorrigible canines, consider using Aggie with John Grogan's Bad Dog, Marley! (HarperCollins, 2007), Barbara M. Joosse's Bad Dog School (Clarion, 2004), and Lois Ehlert's Wag a Tail (Harcourt, 2007).
This sequel to the acclaimed Aggie and Ben finds a boy and his dog at odds with one another. The rambunctious Aggie flunks out of obedience school and ignores Ben’s commands in favor of chasing a squirrel, cat and grasshopper. The boy gets dog-training tips from a kindly, blind neighbor, who tells him that Aggie will learn but “it will take time.” The story is especially believable in the scene that follows: Aggie acts up yet again, and Ben loses his temper. But then he apologizes and begins once more to patiently teach her to SIT and STAY. This lively book for emerging readers delivers its lessons subtly and with humor. Through pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations, Frank Dormer brings the duo to life. He is especially skilled at portraying the gamut of Ben’s emotions, from anger to shame to pride.
ISBN: 978-1-60734-128-4 PDF
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Page count: 48
6 x 8