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.
A review of Homer The Library Cat by Reeve Lindbergh.
Woof: A Love Story by Sarah Weeks; Illustrated by Holly Berry (HarperCollins, $16.99, 32 pages). Age range: 4 to 8.
A dog is a dog/ and a cat is a cat/ And most of the time/ it’s as simple as that/ Or is it?
Young children’s literature is alive and well! The dynamic duo of author Sarah Weeks and illustrator Holly Berry have teamed up to create a colorful, delightful and endearing picture book. Woof is the story of a dog who, at first glance, becomes smitten with a lovely white kitty. His tale is set forth in rhyming verses guaranteed to delight both the listener and the reader. The illustrations are created using an imaginative combination of original woodcuts and photographic images. The effect is just eye-catching enough to enliven the story without being jarring.
Woof is big enough for the reader to hold it while allowing the listener to easily turn the pages. Although the story line is a bit improbable (it involves a buried trombone ), it sets the stage for a dialogue about ways of communicating that can take place between the person reading the book and his or her young listener. Clearly, woof and meow are not the only way for the two characters to share their feelings. Music is the key to their understanding of each other.
Delightful – 5 Woofs (or Meows). Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Ruta Arellano. Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review. “This humorous and heartfelt story is about the power of love and the power of music, told through the eyes of a lovelorn dog and the cat he adores.” HarperCollins