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H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination Hardcover – October 9, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Two friends on an urban basketball court begin a game of H.O.R.S.E. For the uninitiated, Myers does a fine job describing how to play the game, which is similar to Ghost: one player shoots any kind of shot (layup, jumper, etc.) and the other player has to duplicate it. If the second player fails to make the shot, he gets one letter and the game continues until someone loses five times and spells the word H.O.R.S.E. It sounds simple enough, until these two players get creative, such as balancing on the top of a 437-story building and shooting a perfect layup with the left foot. As the friends raise the stakes and the braggadocio rises to an inventive pitch, readers will appreciate the grand humor. White or plain background space emphasizes the dramatic shots that are dreamed up. In addition, the text waves up and beyond the skyline just as the ball can soar. This book will encourage all readers to grab a close friend and get out to play a game, matching their athleticism to their imaginations.-Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
About the Author
Like the ballplayers in this book, Christopher Myers defies gravity every chance he can get. Their imagination took them into outer space; his has taken him from Harlem during its Renaissance in Harlem: A Poem, written by Walter Dean Myers, to vibrant city streets in Black Cat, from the bounds of Earth with Wing and Fly! and into a fiercely fought basketball game in Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll.
For these flights of imagination, Christopher has received many awards and honors, including a Caldecott Honor, three Coretta Scott King Honors, three Boston Globe-Horn Book Honors, and a New York Times Best Illustrated award.
When he isn’t working, Christopher plays touch football with a bunch of other artists in Brooklyn, New York.
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Top customer reviews
But what about the story? It’s a conversation between two kids in the city, united by their love of basketball and wide imaginations. They know the game H.O.R.S.E. by different names, and they may have different ideas of the parameters – but once it starts, their dreams expand. It’s half trash talk, half tall tale, and a joy to read. It’s a testament to the power of sport (or any shared interest) to unite people and fire imagination.
The artwork, though! It’s another step up. Mixed media (some paint, some altered photographs) blend to create the setting: first the basketball court, then the cityscape, and then the planet and space. The two unnamed main characters are African-American kids with a passion for the game, and Myers has distilled their gangly adolescence in these pages, as well as the boastful reach of their dreams.
In all, H.O.R.S.E. is a beautiful book and an homage to a game, a friendship, and telling stories.
Recommended for: all-ages fans of art, picture books, and basketball.
The book itself, without audio, is pretty fun, as well. Perhaps I'd have only given it 4 stars, but basketball is such a common love among kids that I'd still have advocated for pretty liberal purchases. Not just public libraries and schools, but any family that is into sport would get a lot of repeat reads from this book. It does a good job in the beginning of teaching the game of HORSE, and then going on in these high-energy bursts to completely redefine and mythologize the game.
Good fun, go give the book AND the game a try!