Books by Lori Ries

Released: July 1, 2011

"Anyone who has worried about the loss of a special friend will understand the feelings involved with great sympathy and empathy. (Easy reader. 4-7)"
In three short chapters filled with many short words, readers will recognize a child's trauma about a lost pet. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2010

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. (Early reader. 4-7)Read full book review >
GOOD DOG, AGGIE by Lori Ries
Released: Feb. 1, 2009

Chaos erupts in the canine classroom when rambunctious Aggie attends obedience training. When Aggie is expelled from dog school, Ben tries to independently teach his pet, but neighborhood distractions overwhelm the pooch. Active Aggie won't sit or stay until the boy finally pays heed to his blind neighbor's advice and substitutes playing fetch for rigid commands. Ben proves to be the responsible pet parent in the anticipated conclusion when he maturely announces, "You are not a bad dog. But you must learn." Slightly more complex in sentence structure and narrative than its predecessor (Aggie and Ben, 2006), this three-chapter story comically explores the budding friendship between a rowdy pet and her young owner. Dormer's exaggerated angular designs capture the frenzy in calculatedlydisproportionate cartoons. Pen-and-ink and watercolors combine thin lines and bold colors to energize Aggie's antics. While undisciplined, Aggie is one lovable pup; with a slight turn of her large head and a flip of her lopsided ears, she demonstrates why dogs are known as children's best friends. (Early reader. 6-8)Read full book review >
PUNK WIG by Lori Ries
Released: Feb. 1, 2008

A serious illness is given a lighthearted and encouraging treatment as a young boy relates how his mother is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. "She's going to the hospital to get the alien blobs zapped with medicine." Back home, he brings his sick mom a lunch tray with peanut butter and jelly and his favorite gorilla cup. When her hair starts to fall out, she announces that it's wig day. At Harriet's Hair, they both try on silly wigs and his mom chooses a long orange, spiky wig that she calls, "My Punk Wig." At the grocery store, everyone stares at his mom, wearing jeans and a black-leather jacket and sporting Punk Wig. During the winter they put Punk Wig on their snowman. By spring, mom's test results are good and she surprises the boy by giving him Punk Wig. Kono's watercolor illustrations convey a blithe touch and reflect the warm relationship between mom and son. This positive and upbeat approach to coping with cancer will be a welcome addition—younger than, but complimentary to Patricia Polacco's The Lemonade Club (2007). (Picture book. 5-8) Read full book review >
FIX IT, SAM by Lori Ries
by Lori Ries, illustrated by Sue Ramá
Released: Feb. 1, 2007

Toddler Petey's hero is his brother Sam, who can fix anything, as he proves again and again in the brothers' latest outing. Petey is trying hard to build a special fort, but his desires and abilities often do not coincide. He needs help cleaning up the toys he has ransacked, replacing the pillowcase, putting the books back on the shelf and un-snagging the blanket from the top bunk. At every turn, he asks Sam for help, and though Sam's eyes may roll, he never fails to come to the rescue. Petey does his part by thanking Sam and providing encouragement. But it's Petey who finds the final solution to the sagging blanket tent, proclaiming that he can fix anything. The love between the brothers and Petey's toddler enthusiasm are obvious in Rama's pencil, crayon and watercolor illustrations. The roughly drawn edges, bright colors and sometimes scribbled style suit the text's exuberance perfectly. A loving tribute to brothers everywhere; may Sam's stories continue. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2006

Ries follows a pickle grower step-by-step from buying the seed to eating the pickles she loves. A simple 16-line poem comprises the entire text, and every other line reads exactly the same—"Mrs. Fickle likes her pickles"—a device sure to spark audience response. Cote's bright illustrations, done in gouache, carry much of the narrative, which begins with Mrs. Fickle buying seeds at a quaint garden shop. With a perpetual smile on her face, she plants and nurtures her nascent pickles, watched by two eager dogs and a bluebird that often perches atop her hat. She measures the height of the plants in her plethora of pots, and transfers them into neat rows in her back yard. Then she packs them in jars, and drives them to the county fair (in a pickle green convertible, naturally). Her pickles win a blue ribbon and she comes home to where she loves them best: "sitting on her tongue." The simplicity of this breezy rural story will invite repeat readings and a slurp or two of anticipation. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
SUPER SAM! by Lori Ries
by Lori Ries, illustrated by Sue Ramá
Released: July 1, 2004

Brief text and bright, bouncy illustrations combine to create an appealing, if slight, story. The plot is simple: sturdy preschooler Sam borrows his baby brother's blue blankie and ties it around his neck to become "Super Sam." Everyday objects are transformed as he leaps over tall buildings (a pile of pillows), lifts a (toy) truck into the air, climbs a cliff (a bunk-bed ladder), and escapes from a wild bear (a stuffed teddy). Baby brother Pete is most impressed until Sam accidentally steps on his finger. When neither truck nor teddy soothes Pete's pain, Sam generously gives up his cape. Ries tells the story in short sentences, using only 53 words, including 12 repetitions of the phrase "Super Sam." Rama's illustrations, executed in colored pencil, water-soluble crayon, and watercolor, have a childlike appeal. Round-headed kids with simply drawn features cavort in a vividly colored bedroom. There's some inconsistency in the backgrounds, but this doesn't really detract from the illustrations' energy and charm. Imaginative and fun, Sam's antics will amuse and possibly inspire young listeners. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >