Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit by Chris Van Dusen (Candlewick Press, $15.99, 32 pages)
Author and illustrator Chris Van Dusen has fashioned a children’s book that should be quite popular with male children, ages 4 and above. It will especially appeal to those kids – male or female – who are just being exposed to the game of baseball, either Pee Wee League style or softball.
Randy Riley is a boy who would love more than anything to be the Ted Williams of his Little League team. But while he’s a very smart whiz-kid when it comes to science and space, he’s not able to hit a baseball no matter how hard he tries. In this story set in the 1950s, Randy uses his powerful telescope to determine that a meteor fireball is on its way toward earth, and it will destroy the town where he lives.
Randy is unable to convince anyone – including his absolutely clueless parents, that the meteor is on its way. So he has just 19 days to find a solution; a way of destroying the fireball before it touches down. Our hero Randy winds up getting the greatest hit of them all, in a tale that tells children that their own, unique personal strengths are priceless.
Beautifully illustrated and highly recommended.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit will also appeal to boys who are fascinated with robots. It is available as a Nook Book download.
Homer The Cat by Reeve Lindbergh, Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf (Candlewick Press, $15.99, 32 pages)
Any child that lives with an indoor cat is likely to both love and identify with this story of Homer the cat. Homer’s a contented feline… Although he does not go outdoors, he’s got toys to play with and birds to watch and is well fed by a nice, quiet lady who lives in a quiet house. Then one day, as the quiet lady is off at work (at a place unknown to Homer), a window suddenly falls out of its housing and Homer finds himself out in the world. It’s a place that – to his sensitive ears – is loud and frightening, and no matter where he goes in town, he can’t find the “cozy, cat-size space” that he craves.
Homer visits various locations on his unplanned journey, and has a few near-misses with bad consequences before he discovers “a quiet building across a quiet floor.” This turns out to be the public library where his quiet lady owner is reading books aloud to several children. Quiet lady and Homer are ecstatic to see each other, and the children naturally love seeing and petting the great orange cat. So Homer decides to make the library his new second home, a plan approved by the library kids as being “purr-fect!”
This is a beautifully illustrated children’s book, which will make a fine addition to the library of any young reader aged 4 and above. The moral of the rhyming tale (or is that tail?) seems to be that no matter what happens, a splendid place to call home can always be found. This should prove reassuring to any socially nervous young ones.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.