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Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit · Candlewick Press 2012

Randy Riley's Really Big Hit - Cover

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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 whiffs every time. But when an object from outer space threatens his town, Randy does the math, summons all of his science smarts, and devises a plan that saves the day in spectacular fashion.

Excerpts from Reviews

“In this retro rhyming tribute to mind over batter, Van Dusen casts a wide net: anyone who’s a fan of nerds, “Casey at the Bat”, classic science fiction, or mid-century design should find something to like in these eye-popping pages.”
– Publishers Weekly

“Told briskly in the rhyme scheme and cadence of “Casey at the Bat”, Van Dusen’s tale is inventive and humorous. A cunning twist on the heroic home run that wins the game.”
– Kirkus

“The story spins into high fantasy when Randy constructs a robot to play ball with a comet, making for an entirely new kind of home run.”
– The New York Times

Personal Notes

Randy Riley's Really Big Hit - Spread

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been fascinated by robots. When I was 6 years old I received a Remco Lost in Space Robot for Christmas. Today, in my studio, I have a large collection of toy robots lined up on my flat files. I love they way they look and their retro designs. It brings me back to my childhood.

For years I’ve been trying to create a book about a robot, but everything I came up with wasn’t very original or all that exciting. I wrote stories about toy robots that came to life, sci-fi robots that lived on distant planets and stories from the robot’s point-of-view. But nothing seemed to work. I needed a twist that would make this robot story stand out from all the rest. And then one day I was listening to a Red Sox game on the radio and it hit me- why not add baseball to the mix? And that’s how Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit was born.