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.
Reviewed by : JMcD
Themes : DOGS. EASY READERS. HUMOR. PETS.
CRITICS HAVE SAID
- This is a charming, substantive book that will give a real feeling of accomplishment to new readers.
- Perfect for newly independent readers, the short sentences and limited vocabulary will help children build confidence.
–School Library Journal
IF YOU LOVE THIS BOOK, THEN TRY:
- Kirk, Daniel. Dogs Rule! Hyperion Book CH, 2003.
Klein, Abby and John McKinley. The King of Show-and-Tell (Ready, Freddy! series). Blue Sky Press, 2004.
Butler, Dori Hillestad. The Case of the Lost Boy (The Buddy Files series). Albert Whitman & Company, 2010.