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‘The Randimals’ Make Delightful Bedtime Reading-With a Message
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Tuesday, February 1, 2022
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

“The Randimals” had scarcely hoofed and swam their way on to Amazon before the charming, colorfully illustrated book sold out, thanks to two Tik Tok video reviews that went viral collecting 900,000 views.

And no wonder.

The book’s message celebrating our differences and uniqueness, couldn’t be more timely in a nation that has been rocked by the murder of George Floyd, anti-Semitic violence and hate crimes against Asian-Americans.

“It’s the message that’s most important to me,” said Nick Harman, who created the book along with Casey Finegan. “That is, ‘What makes us different makes all the difference in the world.’ ”

Harman, who indulges an entrepreneurial spirit as big as The Argyros where he mans the desk, introduced a set of hard and plush toys he called the Randamils during Christmas 2020.

Inspired by his late Bassett lab named Ollie, they had evolved from the back of a napkin.

Just recently his beautifully illustrated children’s paper book came out. It revolves around a little girl named Sydney, who has a habit of destroying her toys, much to her father’s dismay. He teaches her to love and cherish the toys. But, alas, her dog Ollie chews on them while she’s asleep, tearing them apart.

Despair leads to a great idea: What if she combines the torn animals together? She combines a horse and shark and names it Hork. And then she begins crafting together a whole other line of new creations, including a leopard with wings.

But, alas, alas--her father throws them in the trash, not realizing the loving way in which his daughter has refurbished the toys. And they find their way into a toy store that’s being forced out of business by online sales.

The traditional toys make fun of the upstart toys and challenge them to an Olympics. But Elarilla the Gorilla tells them not to hang their heads—they have all kinds of skills they don’t know they have that will aid them in the challenge.

“What makes us different makes all the difference in the world,” Elarilla tells them.

Soon they fall in the hands of a little boy who looks past the stuffing coming out of the cracks where Sydney repaired them to see their unique attributes.

“Why would you want these?” his mother asks. “They’re so, so, so…well different.”

“Mum it’s their differences that make them special!” replies Bart.

Harman had help around the world in bringing the book to life, including an artist from Armenia who contributed one drawing a month, a website designer from Pakistan, a graphic designer from Nepal, a Tik Tok creator from Colombia and two toy builders in China.

“I had the idea in 2013 but I didn’t have the know-how or the time,” said Harman. “When COVID hit and the theater closed temporarily, a friends said, ‘You don’t have anything to do right now. Do the Randimals!’ ”

Harman will introduce his Randimals at the North American International Toy Fair in New York this month. Hollywood has shown interest, as well.

“I’d like to think these toys—and the book—might be teaching tools,” he said.

“The Randimals” is available at https://www.randimals.com/

 

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