From School Library Journal
Grade 3-5-This celebration of the basketball star's skills and career is more tribute than biography. Written in a loose, rambling style, the verse makes liberal use of basketball jargon to convey a feel for Johnson's talent. The appeal to fans will be obvious, even though the descriptions of play often apply to any professional basketball player: "juke & dazzle,/Shake 'n Bake/down the lane/take the sucker to the hoop,/"magic"johnson,/recreate/reverse/hoodoo/gems/off the spin." Troupe's poetry is flashy and fast paced, and fits Johnson's style. Evans's bright, cartoon-styled illustrations add to the appeal. His work here is most similar to his illustrations for Shaquille O'Neal's Shaq & the Beanstalk (Scholastic, 1999) and harsher than the softened pictures in Angela Johnson's Down the Winding Road (DK Ink, 2000). A perfect choice for reliving the excitement of watching this athlete perform.Jeffrey A. French, Euclid Public Library, OH
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 2-5. Troupe's exuberant picture-book poem captures not only the "magic" of Erwin Johnson but also the exuberance of NBA basketball at a time when it was changing from a plodding game to the epitome of American cool. Each turn of the page reveals a bright, clear, cartoonlike drawing (frequently double-page) by Shane W. Evans, which shows Johnson in action, against an even brighter background. The words explode between the pictures, coming in all directions, in fonts of all sizes. They celebrate basketball savvy and street talk: "juke & dazzle, Shake 'n Bake, down the lane / take the sucker to the hoop Magic Johnson." Don't look for biographical information about Johnson here: this focuses on the skill and style on the court that makes Magic magic. Todd MorningCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved