Although Randy, protagonist of Chris Van Dusen's Randy Riley's
Really Big Hit, enjoys playing baseball, he's not really good at it.
He's really good at science and math. He has an in depth knowledge of
the solar system and a much better ability to hypothesize and
calculate than most adults.
As the book opens Randy strikes out because he's wondering how
far a ball could go if there was no gravity. Back at his home,
looking through his telescope, he arrives at a frightening
conclusion. A massive fireball will hit his town in nineteen days.
When he tries to convince his parents of the danger they send him off
to bed. He's on his own to avert disaster. Fortunately he has a plan.
Illustrations are a fascinating blend of Leave It To Beaver and
futurism. The discovery scene is a prime example. Wally and the
Beave probably had wooden desks and goose neck lamps like those in the
bedroom. But the fireball framed in the telescope is anything but
kitsch. You see this again in the breakfast scene. Randy's parents
are learning the bad news on an old time radio. (Kids will live how
Dad is spewing coffee and mom is sending his breakfast flying).
Randy, clearly in control of the situation, is calmly chowing down on
In an America where we're gradually learning the importance of
the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) professions, Randy
Riley's Really Bit Hit is a book whose time has come!
On a personal note, I finally finished the manuscript for my first
poetry book and turned it over to Leah to add her graphic art. I am
very proud of myself for achieving this goal. I can't wait to see how
Leah transforms it.
A great big shout out goes out to Leah, my graphic arts super star.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod