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.
In three short chapters filled with many short words, readers will recognize a child's trauma about a lost pet.
Ben, whom readers have met before in the Aggie and Ben series, is a conscientious person to his little dog, Aggie. He takes good care of her, feeds her, gives her large quantities of attention and affection and shares the bed, which he thinks is his and she knows is hers. But on her walk in the park, Aggie chases the red ball that she usually returns to him and doesn't come back. She is lost. Ben and his parents do everything they can to find their special friend, posting signs, searching, asking others—to no avail. After a terrible night, the boy returns to the park, where they again encounter friends, to resume the search. Mr. Thomas, who is blind, suggests that Ben use his ears to locate her. Eureka! He hears her howl, she is found and everyone is happy. Despite her bad breath and, worse, the stench of something Aggie has rolled in—a not uncommon habit of pups—all ends well. Art in pen, ink and watercolor shows the characters and their emotions clearly in a faux childlike drawing style.
Anyone who has worried about the loss of a special friend will understand the feelings involved with great sympathy and empathy.
NC Teacher Stuff
Ben and his dog Aggie go to the park to play fetch with a red rubber ball. Aggie is a good dog who brings the ball back every time. She is so good that Ben decides to rear back and throw the ball real hard. He throws it so hard that he cannot see the ball. Aggie runs after the ball but does not come back. Ben calls and calls and looks for Aggie but does not see her. He walks forlornly back home without Aggie. Ben and his family make phone calls and posters. They go back to the park, but do not find Aggie. Ben spends a lonely night full of doubt but is still determined to find his lost friend. The next morning, Ben gets advice from a surprising source and finds a happy, but quite smelly Aggie in the woods.
Two of the reasons why I think Aggie Gets Lost is such an early reader treasure is its authenticity and ability to show the depth of emotions that kids of all ages experience. The second of three chapters, "The Awful Night", gives us a character that goes through a range of emotions (doubt, heartache, anger, determination) that is incredibly rich for a beginning reader chapter book. Ben is like any of us who have lost something dear and wonder why it had to happen or if we did enough. Children and adults will easily connect to the feelings of this wonderful lead character.
Aggie Gets Lost would be a terrific book for teaching young children about how the plot in a book is often driven by a character's reaction to a problem. It would also be an excellent addition to a unit on friendship or pets.
School Library Journal
Aggie and Ben are playing catch in the park when Ben throws the ball too far and his pup doesn't come back. He looks everywhere, but can't find her. He and his parents make phone calls and posters, retrace their steps, and ask people if they've seen Aggie. When these efforts fail, Ben consults his blind friend, Mr. Thomas, who suggests a different approach. The book is split into three chapters for early readers, appropriately named "The Bad Day," "The Awful Night," and "Found!" Dormer's humorous pen, ink, and watercolor cartoons add to the charm of this story. Perfect for newly independent readers, the short sentences and limited vocabulary will help children build confidence.
This newest in the Ben and Aggie series focuses on Aggie getting lost. The different chapters deal with Ben’s fears, sadness, and finally joy in finding Aggie again. Ries gives funny examples, such as a blind man who uses his sense of smell to help find Aggie, and Dormer’s use of expressions in his illustrations add a humorous touch. Excellent for beginning readers, this would be a good transitional book from readers to easy chapter books. Ries and illustrator Dormer are a winning team. The apt and creative illustrations are very clear, original, and complement the brief text, which uses special word repetitions. This series could very well become a popular series similar to Cynthia Rylant’s Henry and Mudge.
Read, Kiddo, Read
Reading is a walk in the park with Ben and Aggie!
The trick with kids at the transitional reading stage is to offer them lots of books that hook them with appealing characters and engaging stories that they cannot wait to dig into. Ideally the situations will be recognizable, yet build enough anticipation so that young readers will be encouraged to decipher unfamiliar words. It may sound like a tall order, but this winning series of transitional readers about Ben and his dog Aggie achieves all that! In the latest of their adventures, Ben and Aggie go to the park where they play fetch until Aggie runs off after a ball thrown too far . . . and does not come back! Ben cannot find her, nor can his parents when they help him look. This is, indeed, as the chapter title describes it, "A Bad Day."
The word repetition in this simple text is never forced and includes just enough new vocabulary to stretch the skills of beginning readers without frustrating them. The book is broken into three chapters, allowing youngsters satisfying places to pause while still providing cliff-hangers to make them want to race to the end. For after a bad day, "An Awful Night" can only follow. Children will relate as Ben goes through a range of emotions: worried, guilty, resentful, but most of all, lonely for Aggie. Child-like watercolor illustrations change from full color in the first chapter to somber grays and browns to reflect the sad mood. At dawn, Ben renews his vow to find Aggie. The last chapter is "Found!" wherein Ben gets advice from Mr. Thomas who suggests that Ben is limiting his search by relying only on his eyes. In a brilliant, unusual scene for this genre, blind Mr. Thomas suggests Ben also use hands, ears, and nose the way he does. Ben tries it. He feels a breeze, then hears Aggie, sees her, and finally, smells her – as does everyone else in the park!
Youngsters will feel they have found familiar friends in Ben and Aggie and will be eager to continue reading about their escapades.
ISBN: 978-1-60734-297-7 PDF
Page count: 48
6 1/2 x 8 3/4