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Summary: Ben is trying to train his dog Aggie, who just flunked out of obedience school. When he says sits, she runs; when he says run, she runs. Aggie doesn't want to sit or stay, and she is causing trouble everywhere she goes. Finally, Ben has had enough, Aggie is just not a good dog. He takes Aggie and his little red ball to the park only to learn that she has her own way of deciding when she wants to sit. This is a set of three short stories built into an easy reader chapter book.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 6 to 8
Interest Level: 4 to 8
Reading Level: 0.7
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: Ben is a boy who is easy to relate to. Aggie is adorable ... and made even more so by Ben's attempts to train her. By breaking the story into three chapters, it helps readers process the content as they go along. This is a text-heavy easy reader, but there is plenty of white space and the chapters give natural stopping points to talk about prediction and review what has already happened.
Pros: Ben and Aggie will warm kids' hearts. Anyone who has tried to train a dog will empathize with Ben's frustration.
Cons: Although the story moves along, there are times when it seems choppy.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a good transition book for kids who need a paragraph or two of text but aren't ready to move away from illustrations.
Educational Themes: This is first and foremost a book for helping kids learn to read. Using the chapters as your "breaking points," stop and talk about what has happened or what you think will happen.
Notes: The Reading Tub received a copy of this book for the 2009 Cybils nomination process.
Literary Categories: Fiction - animal stories, easy reader, series book
Date(s) Reviewed: November 2009
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