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Randy Riley's Really Big Hit    by Chris Van Dusen order for
Randy Riley's Really Big Hit
by Chris Van Dusen
Order:  USA  Can
Candlewick, 2012 (2012)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Randy Riley loves baseball but he's really not very good at it. He's especially inept when it comes to hitting. Randy Riley also loves science and he's very good at it. He can do complicated math in his head and knows a lot about what's happening in outer space.

In this picture book by Chris Van Dusen, Randy Riley combines his two loves in a very remarkable manner. When Randy sights a fireball heading Earth's way with his Space Boy telescope, he decides he has to do something to avert a catastrophe.

For 18 days, he toils away creating a super large robot (Randy knows all about robots too!) and he finishes just in time. With the fireball nearing Earth, Randy energizes his creation with 97 batteries, takes over the hand controls and moves his huge robot to the outskirts of town.

Along the way his steel robot rips the smokestack from its foundation at an abandoned mill and carries it on his shoulder like a baseball hat. Since Randy has worked out the fireball's trajectory he knows exactly where it should hit.

Once he arrives at the spot, Randy maneuvers his robot into a 'jitter's stance' and awaits the fireball.

'Randy's eye was on the ball,
No room for error now.
Three-two-one and FLIP THE SWITCH!
A SWOOSH and then ...
A blinding FLASH! A booming CRASH!
He knew what he had done!
Randy Riley had a HIT!

Naturally, Randy saved the day and Earth was spared a terrible calamity but was he any better when he stepped up to the plate during his team's next outing? Not really!

It's an amusing ode to a little boy's ingenuity with plenty of visual humor and a playful, rhymed text. I think you'll agree with me that Chris Van Dusen has knocked one out of the park with this story. His other books, King Hugo's Huge Ego and The Circus Ship were hits too.

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