From School Library Journal
Grade 3 Up--Combining dynamic illustrations and full-bodied language, Smith's latest collection of poems enthusiastically conveys both love for and knowledge of the game. Twelve superstars dominate the pages, each with his own spread featuring photographic images and a poem designed to match the player's unique style. The book begins with Allen Iverson ("By Any Means Necessary"): "Crooked cornrows/cause chaotic/and catastrophic collisions/with precision./Your mission/and goal:/put the ball/in the hole/using lightning-quick speed/and total body control." Chris Webber ("Velvet Hammer") is represented by four energetic haiku poems: "Relentless reflexes/rattle rising rebounds/into rigid rims." Jason Williams ("The Amazing") is introduced with a circus barker's voice describing him as a magician: "SEE/3-point illusions/baffle your mind/when toes are behind/the arc/and spark/long-distance matches,/lighting a torch/to scorch/nylon nets." And, of course, no book about contemporary stars would be complete without Shaquille O'Neal ("What's in a Name?"): Super/Human/Atomic/Quake." Dominating the center pages of the book, Shaq's actual shoe sole appears on a foldout page. This book will have enormous appeal for all ages; basketball fans will love it, but so will others who respond to color, lively language, and energy. Readers will experience a wild ride!--Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI
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Gr. 3-6. The author of Rimshots
(1999) again combines digitally altered photos and staccato, rap-style lyrics into a paean to the pleasures of b-ball--in this case, as exemplified by 12 current professional stars. Leaving any traces of vulnerability in the locker room, Kobe Bryant issues "high-flyin' / heart-stoppin' / eye-poppin' / jaw-droppin' / gravity-defyin' / fiery-red / DUNKS"; Troy McGrady performs his "One-Man Show"; and Jason Kidd accelerates "from super / to sonic / to hyper / to light." Smith's page-filling action shots, which appear against wide, dramatically angled or spiraled bands of color, capture a sense of the game's speed and grace. Illuminating notes on each poem's style or central image tempt readers to turn back the pages for repeated looks. With their driving energy, the words and pictures (the life-size foldout of Shaquille O'Neal's size 22G shoe sole is great) seem to jump from the page, even after their subjects have switched teams or otherwise moved on. John PetersCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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