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Review: Randy Riley's Really Big Hit

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Looking for new books to share with your child? Check out the book review below! Each week we bring you the latest reviews of books geared toward children in grades K-5 from the creators of "Sweet on Books", a locally-based initiative with reviews written for you exclusively by mothers, as part of our ABC7 Learning Section Enjoy!

Title: Randy Riley's Really Big Hit

randyriley250 Author: Chris Van Dusen

Themes: Excellent Read-Aloud, Exquisite Illustrations, Books for Boys, Sports, Determination, Rhyming Language

Published: 2012, 32 pages

'Sweet' book summary:
Reviewer: Melissa Y.

Randy Riley is secure in who he is: cerebral (nerdy), smart (rocket-scientist smart) and heroic (ready to save the world). He does just that in this terrific picture book. Randy is terrible at baseball. While he is a genius when it comes to things related to space and the solar system, in baseball, he just can't hit the ball.


After a particularly disappointing baseball game, Randy goes home to the comfort of his robots and telescope. While relaxing and looking at space, Randy discovers a fireball is headed straight for Earth. It will make landfall in just nineteen days! Randy alerts his parents to the impending doom, but they think he is just over-tired and send him to bed. Randy isn't deterred and makes plans to save the world anyway.

Nineteen days later, scientists discover the fireball and give the public only three hours warning. Everyone gets (entertainingly) hysterical, except Randy. He uncovers the giant robot he built and sets his plan in motion. The robot ends up hitting the fireball like a baseball, all the way back to space. Randy may have never hit a home run, but he can build a giant robot that can hit the most important home run yet!

Van Dusen's story telling is funny and his illustrations are hilarious in their cartoon-like way. I love this character he has created in Randy; non-athletes will rejoice in him. He may not be able to hit a baseball, but he can save the world! Athletes and non-athletes alike will simply enjoy this entertaining story and root for Randy's success. While intended for younger audiences, if you have an older child struggling athletically, have him/her read this story to a younger sibling/child. It will definitely make them feel better.

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What You Need to Know: If you liked this book, try:
  • Big Kicks by Bob Kolar
  • The Magic Hockey Stick by Peter Maloney
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