A young illustrator often started with Chapter Books until they could show that they could maintain the “look” of a character through an entire book and tell a story in pictures.

My children appeared in many as they were growing up, as well as many of our neighbors. These were not stories about them, but they pretended to be the characters while I took pictures to help with my drawings. Andy, now 20, is Buzzy in Earthquake in Third Grade. The teacher is actually his teacher that year, Mrs. Peterson from Nativity School. Natalie, 22, is Sophie in Tell Me Your Best Thing. She did have to stand on the toilet to pose for that, but not at school!

The internet has helped my research immensely in doing children’s books—if I’ve suddenly found I’ve forgotten how many zippers there are on a backpack or need to see a snowboard from all angles (Snowboarding on Monster Mountain), I can just “google” it!

The Parrot Man Mystery

Parrot Man Mystery
written by Kathy Pelta
illustrated by Karen Ritz
Henry Holt (1989); ISBN 0805011307, out of print; Fawcett paper ISBN 0449703940
Ages 4-8

M.D.K. starts a pet-sitting service and gets mixed up with bird smugglers. Danger comes with a $500 reward. Pencil chapter illustrations.

Cory Coleman, Grade 2

Cory Coleman, Grade 2
written by Larry Dane Brimner
illustrated by Karen Ritz
Henry Holt (1991); ISBN 0805018441; paper ISBN 0805018441
Ages 4-8

Second grade is off to a bad start with Cory when he "investigates" his wrapped present and breaks it. Then the class bully tries everything to ruin his birthday party. Pencil chapter illustrations.

Rotton Egg Paterson to the Rescue

Rotten Egg Paterson to the Rescue
written by Colin Thiele
illustrated by Karen Ritz
HarperCollins (1991); ISBN 0060261048; out of print
Ages 4-8

Having rescued an emu egg from the clutches of a goanna in the Australian scrublands, twelve-year-old Danny is determined to hatch it despite a series of near-disasters and the interference of the school bully. Ink and pencil chapter illustrations.

Tell Me Your Best Thing

Tell Me Your Best Thing
written by Anna Grossnickle Hines
illustrated by Karen Ritz
Dutton (1991); ISBN 0525447342; Viking Penguin paper ISBN 0140364471
Ages 8-12

Sophie thought the Best-Worst Club was a great idea, until her "worst" turns out to be so embarrassing. The shy third grader stands up to a bully. Ink and pencil chapter illustrations.

Taxi Cat and Huey

Taxi-Cat and Huey
written by Gen LeRoy
illustrated by Karen Ritz
HarperCollins (1992); ISBN 0060217685; out of print
Ages 4-8

A basset hound's peaceful life is changed when a rambunctious cat, who thinks he is a Ninja warrior, joins the family. Pencil chapter illustrations.

Ellie's Birthstone Ring

Ellie's Birthstone Ring
written by Beatrice Gormley
illustrated by Karen Ritz
Dutton (1992); ISBN 0525449698; out of print
Ages 4-8

As she makes plans for her seventh birthday party, Ellie must decide whether or not to invite an older girl who lives nearby. Ink and pencil chapter illustrations.

Boys Here - Girls There

Boys Here—Girls There
written by Riki Levenson
illustrated by Karen Ritz
Lodestar Books (1992); ISBN 0525673741; out of print
Ages 4-8

During the depression, the year that six-year-old Jennie starts school brings many changes to her loving Jewish family including her father's loss of his job and the birth of a new baby. Ink and pencil chapter illustrations.

Ghost of Popcorn Hill

Ghost of Popcorn Hill
written by Betty Ren Wright
illustrated by Karen Ritz
Holiday House (1993); ISBN 0823410099; Weekly Reader Book Club selection
Ages 9-12

Peter and Martin move to Popcorn Hill and acquire a new dog and two lonely ghosts. Pencil chapter drawings.

Earthquake in the Third Grade

Earthquake in the Third Grade
written by Laurie Myers
illustrated by Karen Ritz
Clarion Books (1993); ISBN 0395653606; paper ISBN 0395928664
Ages 4-8

You never know when disaster is going to strike. Third grade turmoil for John, Buzzy and Kate and some unexpected benefits. Ink and pencil chapter illustrations.

Snowboarding on Monster Mountain

Snowboarding on Monster Mountain
written by Eve Bunting
illustrated by Karen Ritz
Cricket Books, 2003, ISBN 0812627040

Eleven-year-old Callie, with a serious fear of heights, agrees to go on a snowboarding weekend with her best friend, Jen.

*A Junior Library Guild selection.

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