Randy Riley's Really Big Hit
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Randy Riley's Really Big Hit

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  357 ratings  ·  90 reviews
Randy likes space, robots, and baseball, but he can't ace everything . . . or can he? Chris Van Dusen knocks one out of the park with a comical ode to ingenuity.

Randy Riley loves two things: science and baseball. When it comes to the solar system, the constellations, and all things robot, Randy is a genius. But on the baseball diamond? Not so much. He tries . . . but whiff...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Candlewick
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This year, for National Poetry Month, I took an idea from Pinterest and did "Poetry Madness" with my 3rd graders. Essentially, this is like March Madness only with Poetry books. We started out with 12 books. In both my 3rd grade classes, the winning book was this one, hands down. (I don't think they communicated with each other about this either.) I decided to share it with my 2nd graders since it was so well received by the grade above. I watched them react as I turned each "50s-esque" illustra...more
Randy Riley just cannot seem to step up to home plate and get a hit. He understands the mathematics behind force and trajectory, he just can't master the physical aspects of batting. Good thing he has the science part down, though, because a giant fireball is headed toward Earth, and no one knows how to stop it. No one but Randy Riley, that is.

Randy constructs an enormous robot and preps it for emergency. When the fireball is about to crash into the ground, Riley commands his robot to take a mi...more
Karah Webb
Randy Riley is a boy-genius who in hand loves baseball. This witty rhyming book is about how Randy Riley has the biggest home run ever and saves his town from what could have been, a massive disaster! This story is filled with great illustrations that are brilliantly done! A child would love to have this story read to them because on each and every page there is so much going on with in it! I can just picture myself reading this to my early preschoolers, and I know it would probably take me abou...more
The Candlewick description is spot on. A fun mix of space, robots, baseball and ingenuity. While Circus Ship is still my favorite, I welcome Van Dusen's illustrations to any story--they are bright, classy and fun.
Similar to Weslandia in that Randy Riley is much more at home inventing and building than in the sport he plays, I liked this book for it's clever turns. I also liked that there was a certain element of peril involved and that Randy quite literally had a chance to use his skills to save the day. I think I could use this book for its encouraging message, and I'm sure the building component would resonate with the large group of Lego robotics students quite well. All in all, another great book.
This book is really for young children. It is an easy read with some tougher words in it. The author-illustrator did an amazing job with putting the pictures to the words. He really made this book come alive. It kept me as an adult interested in this book so I know young children would love this book as well. I think that a lot of children could relate to the main character in this book in many different ways. So this maybe something that would appeal to them. Overall I really liked this book an...more
Jamie Short
1. What is your favorite thing to do? Do you have anything you love to do, but might not be very good at? Have you ever wanted to give up on it? Well, in the story “Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit” written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, Randy Riley loves to play baseball, but he always strikes out. He tries hard, but just can’t hit the ball and has lost games for his team. His teammates aren’t very excited about him playing, and he feels like giving up. But Randy is also very smart and realize...more
Elizabeth Sherry
I am 21 years old and I truly loved this book. I even made my boyfriend sit and listen to me read it to him. This book is about a little boy who is not so good at baseball but is very gifted in math and science. It has a great lesson for children who are discouraged with something they are not very good at. It takes something that he is not good at and combines it with something he is good at to get a good result for himself. This would really encourage children to keep persisting through their...more
It's great to have a picture book written in rhyming text paying homage to the intellect rather than mere physical prowess. In this title, Randy Riley loves baseball despite being woefully inadequate at the sport. No matter how determined he is to hit the ball, when it comes over the plate, he inevitably swings and misses. (I like the idea that you don't have to be good at something to enjoy it.)Randy is fascinated by science and ponders the idea of outer space and messes around with his robots....more
Fun story: there nothing like a lovable geek who can't play sports coming to the rescue of all the other folks. My only quibble is that while the story could take place anytime, and the protagonist could be anyone (boy, girl, any color), the illustrations have a nice '60s feel to them, which means the Mom's in a dress and is knitting, while our hero (a boy, of course) is off being brilliant and heroic. A small fly in the ointment of my enjoyment.
Tim Vandenberg
LOVED this book! Chris Van Dusen's best so far! (please make more!) I've read a few of his other books, and this one really, really is a Big, Big Hit!

The rhyme, rhythm & poetic skill of Van Dusen really make the story move along in a fun & exciting manner. This book pulses joy, excitement, creativity, suspense, ingenuity, and Americana at its height! Van Dusen's art is dead-on, and the story grabs you and never lets you go until its satisfying ending. A Fun, Fun, Fun read!

I read this tog...more
Lauren Fogg
Randy Riley plays baseball, but not very well. He's more interested in the science involved in everything around him. Although Randy isn't very talented, he makes a discovery that challenges him to save his hometown. The story is told in a rhyme and incorporates vivid illustrations to display the action taking place.

The book gives the reader the idea that they can anything if they put their mind to it. Although Randy is a genius, he still needs to use his other interests (baseball) to become a...more
Nanci Booher
I read this to the kids at school. I picked it out because 1) it rhymes and 2) it looks like spring in the story. But when I asked the kids why they thought I picked it, they thought it was because it was a story about never giving up...hmmmm outta the mouths of babes. A fun rhyming story that has something for everyone....humor, baseball and robots.
Shem Henrichsen
The theme of this book is determination. One example is how Randy keeps on trying to hit even though he can't. Another example is how he made the giant robot to save the town. An example of symbolism is the big fire ball. People should read this book because it shows how much someone will work to save what they love.
I absolutely LOVED this book!

Chris Van Dusen truly has a gift for rhyme!

This is one of the funnest books I've ever read aloud, and believe me when I say I've read a lot.

Randy Riley loves baseball, but he's not very good at it. His mind is too mixed up in scientific notions and mathematical equations that by the time he's worked out the trajectory and perfect point at which to hit the ball he has already struck out.

But not too worry! Randy is able to use his mad science skills to really knock...more
Such a fun rhyming book about both science and baseball. We're getting into a robot phase around here too, so this book was great for that!
Ecl  Storytellers
A really fun robot story with baseball! Read this for K-2 and they were rapt. It felt long but rhyming ALWAYS helps with that.
Randy Riley is a genius too wrapped up in his own thoughts to be very good at baseball. When Randy spots a fireball through his telescope he quickly does the math- in 19 days the fireball will crash into Earth! Of course, no one believes him, so it's up to Randy to save the day! Drawing his love of robots and baseball together, Randy conceives of a singular device to save his town. This fast and fun story in verse will have kids begging, "read it again"! The real draw of this book, though, are V...more
Sandi Roe
Randy Riley may not be great at baseball, but his love of Science and math help to save his town.
A fun story and GREAT illustration. My 6 year old really enjoyed this book.
Amianne Bailey
I bought this book based on the recommendation of Valerie Kohler, owner of Blue Willow Bookshop--a fantastic independently-owned bookstore in Houston, who had a booth set up at the Abydos conference. My principal read it to 4th and 5th graders before the STAAR test to motivate them to do their best. The kids LOVED it and so did my principal. A fantastic read-aloud for any occasion but especially from inspiring kids to do their best and problem-solve during stressful situations (i.e. state-mandat...more
Another creative Chris Van Dusen book filled with adorable illustrations! Your child doesn't have to like baseball to enjoy this book because it's also about robots and space.

Excerpt from the book:
Randy Riley stood at bat.
He gazed out at the mound.
His knees began to tremble,
and his heart began to pound.

Then Randy started thinking
about the pitcher's throw.
He wondered, without gravity,
how far the ball would go.

And as he stood there pondering,
strike three went whizzing by.
"YOU'RE OUT!" he heard th...more
This story provides the lesson that every person has his/her own talents and interests, so just because Randy Riley initially was not very good at baseball does not mean he's useless or should be made fun of. Instead, students can understand that every person plays a role in the classroom community and beyond because of individual talents and interests. The world would not be a good place to live if everyone was the same. Randy Riley saves the day by using his intelligence and creativity to buil...more
Nancy Riley
Loved the rhyming text and colorful, bold illustrations!
Oh, Randy Riley and those big ole glasses :) (and ROBOTS!)
Fun Story about a kid who saves the world.
Is this illustrator Chris Van Dusen's first book written solely by himself? Written in a rhymey, rollicking style, nerdy kid Randy loves science and astronomy, but is a flop on the baseball field. One night, he notices an asteroid heading straight for Earth and works on a secret project out back - a giant robot, who uses a chimney stack as a baseball bat to knock the fireball clean out of sight. Colorful gauche illustrations employ a strong mid-century retro aesthetic, in a surburban neighborhoo...more
Great illustrations and story.
Mary Boyle
Kindergarten-Grade 3
I just read this book aloud to my class. It is about a young boy named Randy Riley who plays baseball but isn't actually very good at being on the field. Randy loves science, math, and outer space. He uses his skills to help save his town from horrible space disaster. I love the vibrant and detailed illustrations in this book. This is an exciting book for boys and girls alike. It really hit home with the boys in my classroom! This book is good to talking about rhyming, and pr...more
Randy Riley stinks at baseball and really loves learning about space. When he discovers a huge fireball headed toward earth, he comes up with a plan to save the planet. And while Randy might stink at hitting the ball, the robot he creates manages to hit the fireball to save the day.

The illustrations give the book that retro-space-age 50's feel, which is just right for the story. Unfortunately, I just don't love the rhyming text or save-the-planet plot. Recommended for first and second grade.
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Chris Van Dusen writes: “I was born in Portland, Maine, on St. Patrick’s Day, 1960. As a child, my brothers and I would spend hours drawing pictures. We didn’t have video games or computers to entertain us, so we drew instead. One of my brothers would sketch intricate war scenes. Another would draw animals so realistic you’d swear they were breathing. My specialty was aliens, robots, and monsters....more
More about Chris Van Dusen...
The Circus Ship If I Built a Car A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee If I Built a House King Hugo's Huge Ego

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