Aggie the Brave

Aggie the Brave

  • 1295

By: Lori Ries / Illustrated by: Frank W. Dormer

A trip to the vet requires bravery.

They met and became best friends in Aggie and Ben. They learned to behave in Good Dog, Aggie. Now Aggie and Ben must conquer their fears in their third book for beginning readers. Puppy, Aggie, has to go to the vet, but it's Ben who needs to be brave as he deals with a night without his best friend. When Aggie returns home, she is unable to play. Ben must do his best to take care of her and make her feel better.

Frank W. Dormer's expressive illustrations tell the story of the special bond between a boy and his loyal pet dog. Young readers will love the continuing adventures of Aggie and Ben.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

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.

Editorial Reviews:

School Library Journal, starred review

Adorable Ben and his dog are off to the vet in this installment in a charming series. It's time for Aggie to be spayed, and Ben must deal with a bit of separation anxiety and a brief change in his pet's behavior. Ries's style is clean and basic without being choppy and detached. It contains just a hint of wry humor that dovetails nicely with the characters' sometimes droll expressions. Dormer's illustrations are wonderful, evoking pathos when Ben cries in the backseat of the car on the way home after leaving Aggie, and laughter when Ben transforms her from a "lamp head" to a "lion head" by drawing a mane on her Elizabethan collar. Ries and Dormer once again prove a delightful pairing, cheerfully and tenderly persuading new readers to keep turning the page.

The Horn Book Magazine, starred review

"Aggie is going to the vet. A vet is a doctor for animals. Aggie is going to the vet to get spayed." In addition to learning useful information about animal health, readers and listeners will enjoy an extended experience with old friends in this third book about Aggie the dog and her young owner Ben. Dormer's illustrations mirror and expand Ries's text. For example, on the morning Aggie is to come home, Ben, showing an eagerness not expressed in words, is up and dressed (in a suit and tie, no less) long before his parents awake. The text admirably uses the correct term for Aggie's operation and also explains why dogs wear surgical collars. Ries displays a keen understanding of kids; for instance, Ben believes Aggie is self-conscious about her looks and thoughtfully draws a lion's mane on her "lamp shade" to make her feel better. Three chapters divide the text for newly independent readers. Smart page breaks pace the story; where emphasis is needed, only one word appears on a page, and a wordless multi-panel sequence allows readers to ponder Ben's anxiety as he awaits news from the vet. Give Ries and Dormer a Best in Show.

Kirkus Reviews

Aggie, a small, young dog of indeterminate parentage, has an appointment to be spayed. Young Ben, who is Aggie’s human companion, is concerned about her, of course, as all good pet lovers would be. Spaying: “[Ben’s] mommy says this is a good thing to do. It will keep Aggie from getting sick when she gets older. And it means she won’t have any puppies.” This shadowy explanation is the weakest part in an otherwise charming early reader, and adults should be prepared to enlighten curious youngsters. While Aggie is at the vet’s overnight, Ben worries about her and misses her. Will she be lonely, too? On her return, she wears the collar that keeps her from tearing at her stitches, and her activities are limited. But all is well when the collar comes off, and both Aggie and Ben have been brave. This book will serve well for those whose four-footed friends may have an upcoming operation. Dormer’s illustrations in pen, ink and watercolors convey the action and Ben’s many concerns. A realistic—and gentle—story about a common occurrence for those lucky enough to have a pet.


Aggie the dog endures a visit to the vet that includes an operation for spaying, and overnight stay, and the humiliation of the "lampshade" she must wear on her neck to keep her from tearing her stitches. Aggie's experiences are related by her young owner Ben who shares every bit of his pet's anxiety and joy upon returning home safe and well. Gentle humor and Ben's love for Aggie come through the easy text. Funny pen and ink and watercolor illustrations are on every page, similar to previous books about Aggie.

NC Teacher Stuff

Ben's dog Aggie is going to the vet to be spayed. On the way to the vet, Ben tells her to be brave but Aggie isn't so sure. It's Ben's turn to be brave when the vet tells him that Aggie must spend the night. On his way out, Ben tells Aggie again to be brave, but on the way home Ben doesn't feel so brave himself. He spends a long lonely day waiting to hear from the vet. When Ben returns the next day to pick up Aggie, the vet tells him that she will have to wear a cone for two weeks so Aggie won't bite the stitches. Aggie is not thrilled, but Ben comes up with a marvelous plan to make his best friend feel better about wearing the cone.

One of the reasons why Aggie the Brave is a terrific early reader book is how Lori Ries has written the character of Ben. I could see K-2 students having the same reactions if they were in Ben's situation. After Ben hears that he can pick up Aggie the next day, he decides to get in bed at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. He reasons that if he goes to bed early, it will bring Aggie home sooner. I know (and I was one!) kids who do this before a particular holiday in December. My favorite illustration of the book is of the next morning when Ben is wearing a suit and bow tie and waiting to go to the vet while his parents are in their bath robes with coffee in hand. This book is just the right size for early readers with humorous illustrations and a charming story that will easily connect with K-2 students.


Colorful illustrations match the basic sentences which tell the story of Aggie the dog who must go to the vet to get spayed, stay overnight and heal at home. The story teaches about the process at the vet as well as what to expect – like the stitches and cone she must wear post-surgery.

I love the way the little boy owner imagines that Aggie is not a cone head but a LION. (It’s so much less embarrassing!)

Finally, the healing is done. “The vet gives her a meaty treat — a meaty treat for a brave lion. Aggie loses her mane. / She runs and jumps. She circles my legs. / We play chase till it gets dark.”

For those children who own dogs, this book is sure to engage them, as well as the other children who love dogs and want a dog of their own.

Library Media Connection

Ben describes the bravery of his dog Aggie as he takes her to the vet to be spayed. Ben is confident that he and Aggie will be able to play together after the visit, but the vet tells Ben that Aggie must stay overnight for her surgery. Worried that she will be scared without him, Ben reminds Aggie to "Be brave!" The next morning, the call comes telling Ben that Aggie's surgery is over and she is ready to come home. Ben imagines everything he and Aggie will do once they are together again. Ben learns that Aggie must rest for several days befoire she will feel like playing again. This adorable story explores some of the rollercoaster-like emotions faced by many young pet owners when they learn that their furryfriend must undergo surgery or stay overnight at the animal hospital. Feelings of worry, expectation, and confusion are replaced with caring, love, and a little bit of creativity as Ben helps Aggie recover. This chapter book for beginning readers will be a fovrite among animal lovers.

The Spring Book Review, Kutztown University

Ben’s pet dog, Aggie, is going to the vet to be spayed. Ben is nervous for the dog but understands that the doctor will take good care of his best friend. What he didn’t count on was that Aggie would be spending the night after the surgery. After a rough night, Ben happily brings Aggie home from surgery. Aggie now has to figure out how to manage with the plastic collar he needs to wear until the incision heals. Ben decides that Aggie must feel embarrassed to look like a “lamp head” so he takes his crayons and colors the collar to look like a lion’s mane. Soon Aggie is healed and the two are running and playing again.

This beginner chapter book is adorable! Although sparse in text, the story is full and rich with illustrations to match. Children will be able to easily relate to the many emotions that Ben goes through while waiting for his pet to return and be ready to play. I will certainly look to add Aggie and Ben; and Good Dog, Aggie to my collection, as well.

Language Arts

Aggie has an appointment to be spayed at the veterinarian. Although young Ben tries to convince Aggie to be brave, she runs and hides when they reach the vet’s office. Out of concern for his beloved pet, Ben has many questions for the veterinarian, and she graciously answers each of them, assuring Ben she will take good care of Aggie. During their conversation, Ben is told something he was not expecting to hear—Aggie will have to spend the night at the vet’s office. A night without Aggie? Now Ben is forced to be the brave one!

With the help of his mother, Ben survives the long night without Aggie, but is anxious to pick her up the next day. When Ben returns to the veterinarian’s office, Aggie is fatigued and wearing a huge lampshade on her head. Although Ben is instructed that Aggie is actually wearing a protective collar to prevent her from scratching and biting her stitches, he still thinks it looks more like a large lampshade than a collar. The veterinarian also informs Ben that Aggie must rest and wear the collar for two weeks. During her recovery period, Ben becomes a compassionate companion who takes first-rate care of his dog. He rests with Aggie, pets and comforts her, and stops calling her names like "Cone Head" and "Aggie the clown." After 14 days have passed, Aggie returns to the vet and has both her stitches and collar removed. Within hours, Aggie is able to run, jump, circle Ben’s legs, and enjoy a long evening of their favorite game—catch.

In three short chapters, Ries has created a genuine and delightful story perfect for beginning readers. Other beginning readers featuring these two loveable characters are Aggie and Ben and Good Dog, Aggie.


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ISBN: 978-1-57091-635-9

ISBN: 978-1-57091-636-6

ISBN: 978-1-60734-226-7 PDF
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 4-7
Page count: 48
6 1/2 x 8 3/4

If you like this book, you’ll enjoy these:
Aggie and Ben
Aggie Gets Lost
Good Dog, Aggie