I LOVE Chris Van Dusen’s artwork: bright, crisp, energetic, and retro. (You can see my earlier review of some of his work in this post.) I was so excited to find some new picture books he’s written and illustrated, including:
Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit, by Chris Van Dusen (lexile: NA; AR book level: 4.0; 32 pp)
Randy Riley loves science, especially astronomy, planets, stars and ROBOTS! In fact, his bedroom is full of cool robots (including some famous ones that adults may recognize from movies of old). He also loves baseball — but is not so good at that, and in fact has never gotten a hit. Then one night, peering through his Space Boy telescope, Randy spies a fireball headed towards Earth.* With careful calculation he determines it will strike his very own town in 19 days! So while his friends keep playing ball, Randy uses his unique skills to craft a plan that will save the day and make him a hero. I won’t spoil it by telling you what he does, but I will say that every boy is gonna say “I want one of those!”
The artwork is so much fun, and the rhyming text is perfect for reading aloud. On his website, Van Dusen says that Dr Seuss was a boyhood hero, and I’m sure Van Dusen’s poetry would make the good doctor proud.
*Yes, all you science-y folk — I know a rogue interplanetary body would not be FLAMING in the vacuum of outer space, not until it hit the atmosphere — just go with it, OK?
King Hugo’s Huge Ego (lexile: 920; AR book level: 4.6; 40 pp)
Long ago, when people spoke
with words like “thou” and “thee,”
there lived a king named Hugo
who was only three foot three.
And though this mini monarch
stood no higher than an elf,
his ego was enormous —
he thought highly of himself.
Cocky King Hugo forces his subjects bow to him and listen to endless tales of his wonderfulness. He meets his match, however, when he tangles with a village girl who also happens to be a witch. The curse she puts on him causes his head to swell bigger with each boast, with comic consequences. Will he finally learn his lesson?
AND good news for those fans of Van Dusen’s If I Built A Car — the same creative kid with the vivid imagination will be back in If I Built a House, due out October 25, 2012. (And we now HAVE it at the Decatur Public Library!)