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Long Shot: Never Too Small to Dream Big
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Long Shot: Never Too Small to Dream Big

by Chris Paul, Frank Morrison (Illustrator)
Everybody told Chris that he was too small to play basketball. But he ignored them all...because he had big dreams.


Everybody told Chris that he was too small to play basketball. But he ignored them all...because he had big dreams.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Paul, star guard for the New Orleans Hornets, recalls how through hard work and sheer grit, he overcame being one of the shortest kids in school (“The ball is bigger than you,” teases his big brother) to win a coveted place on the basketball team. The off-court text is mainly standard-issue motivational: Mom reminds Chris to have a balanced sense of priorities and to “Just do the best you can with the gifts you have,” while Chris's grandfather, Papa Chilly, advises, “Work harder than everyone else on the court and your size won't matter.” But when the action concentrates on basketball, the writing soars almost as high as Morrison's (Out of the Ballpark) acrylic pictures, and that's saying a lot. All of Morrison's visual signatures—the off-kilter fluidity, exaggerated dimensionality and cinematic sense of composition—make him a slam-dunk for the subject matter. The spreads exude a raucous energy and genuine empathy. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
In lively prose, basketball star Paul tells the inspirational story of how his dreams of success as a player came true despite his small size. Teased by his brother and his friends but encouraged by his mother and grandfather, Chris just wants to keep practicing and dreaming. His brother gives him helpful hints as he apprehensively prepares for the high school team tryouts. Cheered on by his family, Chris plays hard and makes the team. Using acrylics, Morrison constructs double-page scenes with detailed settings merely suggested by the text. Although a bit exaggerated, his characters have distinct personalities and dress and behave in a naturalistic fashion. An energetic pulse builds to the climax, with bright-eyed, smiling family members hugging our hero. A note fills in facts about NBA superstar Paul. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—In this picture-book autobiography, an NBA All-Star tells of being one of the smallest youngsters trying out for the local basketball team. He jumps into the story with a fantasized sportscaster's voice, describing an amazing shot that he, Chris Paul, age eight, makes after fielding a pass from double-teamed Michael Jordan. The play-action scenario is enough to make his big brother's friends say, "In your dreams." That bantering energy and the ensuing hard practice punctuated by sound family advice create a tight narrative. It is the week before tryouts and each family member, including big brother C. J. and grandfather Papa Chilly, contributes a way of supporting Chris. Earthy hues exuberantly painted and textured in acrylic add energy and depth to the story, and the cartoon style adds the right amount of action. Confident with his hands, trying his utmost not to worry about what he cannot control (his height), Paul tells an inspiring story that does not fall into sentimentality. It is a realistic portrait of a solid African-American family with the ability to realize their dreams. Pair it with Deloris Jordan's Salt in His Shoes (S & S, 2000) for a similar story and watch the wide-open eyes of the most reluctant boy readers as the thrills and spills of the final game decide who will make the team.—Sara Paulson-Yarovoy, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
In this made-to-inspire autobiographical account, NBA All-Star Chris Paul recalls the difficulty he faced making it onto the school's basketball team. He knew he was good, but he feared he was just too short to make the team. Chris gets sage advice and support from his grandfather, his parents and his brother, which inspires him to practice extra-hard in the days leading up tryouts. When the big day arrives, his family members are all there to cheer him on as he overcomes taunting to perform well, earning himself the last spot on the team. Some awkwardness of prose and narrative flow notwithstanding, this title has valuable lessons to teach both children and adults about the importance of persistence, perspective and family support to kids who are learning to set goals and risk failure to accomplish them. Morrison's rich, vivid and dynamic illustrations portray the characters as realistic, likable people with plenty of personality. The volume ends with a note detailing Paul's accomplishments in college basketball and in the NBA. (Picture book. 6-10)

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.78(w) x 11.22(h) x 0.43(d)
AD510L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

NBA All-Star and former NBA Rookie of the Year Chris Paul plays for the New Orleans Hornets.

Frank Morrison is the award-winning illustrator of many books for children, including Miz Mosetta by Brenda C. Roberts, for which he received the Coretta Scott King /John Steptoe Award for New Talent, Out of the Ball Park by Alex Rodriguez, and Long Shot by Chris Paul. He lives in Georgia with his family.

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