Thursday, January 13, 2011

Aggie the Brave

Lori Ries; Illustrated by Frank W. Dormer

This is the third book in the popular Aggie series.  The two preceding books, Aggie and Ben: Three Stories, and Good Dog, Aggie have gotten scores of good reviews as beginning reader books that also rate highly with preschoolers. After reading this one, I can certainly see the appeal. The little red-haired boy and his adorable dog are pretty easy to like.

In this installment of Ben and Aggie's adventures, the duo is making a trip to the vet's office.  The time has come for Aggie to be spayed.  I was a little surprised the author chose that particular operation to introduce to kids, but when I gave it a bit more thought, it really is sensible. Spaying an neutering is both an important and common procedure, and one that children should be familiar with. Ben's mom explains in her matter-of-fact way that in addition to preventing puppies, this will help keep Aggie from getting sick when she gets older. 

Both Ben and Aggie try very hard to be brave.  Ben asks the vet a lot of questions to quell his fears, gives Aggie a big hug and goes home without her for one night.  It is a long drive home without his friend and Ben's bed feels terribly empty that night.  

When they pick up Aggie the next day, Ben expects her to be excited to see him, running to greet him and jumping around.  But when he arrives, Aggie is lying very still, with a paper cone around her head.  The vet explains that Aggie needs some quiet time while her incision heals.  The paper cone is to keep her from licking her stitches (it's a dog thing).  Ben busts out his stash of art supplies and transforms the paper cone into a fierce lion's mane.  Each day, Aggie feels a bit better, until she is back to her old self.
This really is the perfect book for beginning readers.  The sentences are short and the nice, bright illustrations fill most of each page.  Plus, kids get to see that it's okay to be scared, and learn a little bit about responsible pet ownership. This really is a win-win for parents and children alike.

Review copy provided by Charlesbridge. 


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