In a basketball game, the mind flows. Later, memory serves up moments-short takes. Here are twelve poems delivered in short, quick lines that press and twist and streak their way downcourt toward their goal with practiced, impressive dexterity. The feeling is of the inner eye and ear, alert and awake, storing up memories. Competition is everywhere. Voices taunt, swagger, defend. Bodies dare and challenge. And yet, amid the heart-pounding action, the athletic stop-starts, come moments of quiet, even odd ...
In a basketball game, the mind flows. Later, memory serves up moments-short takes. Here are twelve poems delivered in short, quick lines that press and twist and streak their way downcourt toward their goal with practiced, impressive dexterity. The feeling is of the inner eye and ear, alert and awake, storing up memories. Competition is everywhere. Voices taunt, swagger, defend. Bodies dare and challenge. And yet, amid the heart-pounding action, the athletic stop-starts, come moments of quiet, even odd reflection-the sound of sneakers on a wood floor, for instance.
Small photographs capture suspended moments and pattern their way across colorful backgrounds in accompaniment to the energetic images of the poetry. Once again drawing on the rhythms of jazz and hip-hop, Charles Smith offers a fitting companion to his previous two books about The Game: Rimshots, an ALA Notable Book, and the highly praised Tall Tales.
• 3rd volume in an award-winning homage to street-court basketball
The third in Charles R. Smith Jr.'s basketball trilogy (after Rimshots and Tall Tales), Short Takes: Fast-Break Basketball Poetry is, in the author's words, "about those little moments [in the game] that, for whatever reason, stand out in your mind and are significant." The jazzy but nervous graphic design pairs poems with lots of small-format photos and features high-contrast patterns, varying type in bold colors and nontraditional layouts. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Looking for a way to hook sports fans on poetry? Smith's colorful book might provide the answer. The format is bold and eye-catching through double-spread pages with bright text and snapshotlike photographs. Many of the backgrounds include muted images that go along with the photos and poems. For example, blue music scores provide the backdrop for "Shadow Dancing" and pink ears lurk behind "Haiku #3" about the sound of sneakers on floors and asphalt. The dozen short poems—Smith calls them visual jazz—are arranged around the photographs with the text seemingly in motion just like the pictures. Poetry forms include hip-hop, rap, and haiku. Images of swooping birds, charging bulls, squeaking sneakers, pinball machines, storms, and more populate this visually appealing picture book for older readers. This third volume in Smith's trilogy tribute to street-court basketball is a winner, but it will need some selling to sports enthusiasts, poetry teachers, poets, and poetry lovers. Previous titles are Rimshots (Dutton, 1999/VOYA February 2000) and Tall Tales (2000/VOYA December 2000). Illus. Photos. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Dutton, 32p, $17.99. Ages 11 to 18. Reviewer: Bette Ammon SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-10-A poetry book for basketball lovers? You bet. Short Takes, the third in Smith's basketball trilogy, is a collection of a dozen short poems inspired by jazz, hip-hop, music videos, and movies. In his afterword, the author states that he's hoping to capture the moments that "leave an imprint on your mind like a snapshot." And he's mostly successful in this impressively dynamic work. The poems are illustrated with photos set on vividly colored pages, most of which contain echoes of larger images. For the most part, the selections rely on the visuals for their effectiveness. For example, "Shadows dance and prance/in the trance/of my opponent in the defensive stance" by itself is not as strong as when it is paired with its illustrations. Seen with them, it's a different story: the letters of the words have shadows of their own, and are placed on a blue page strung with musical notes and accompanied by hazy photos of a player and hoop. You see it as well as hear it, with a strength neither the pictures nor the words can carry alone. In that sense, this is a true picture book, one to be enjoyed by older readers-even those who may not normally choose a poetry title.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.