Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Only occasional commas and a single dash break up Troupe's (Miles and Me) rambling, stream-of-consciousness tribute to the on-court skills of Magic Johnson. Though the momentum of the text recalls that of a basketball player in motion, much of the narrative is oblique and beyond the grasp of the intended audience. Addressing Johnson, Troupe celebrates this star's "...new-style fusion of Shake 'n Bake/ energy, using everything possible,/ you created your own space to fly through--/ any moment now/ we expect your wings to spread/ feathers for that spooky takeoff/ of yours/ then, shake & glide & ride up in space/ till you hammer home a clothes-lining deuce off glass/ now,/ come back down with a reverse hoodoo gem/ off the spin & stick in sweet, popping/ nets clean from twenty feet, right side..." High-contrast colors help animate Evans's (Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper's Daughter) stylized and often spare pictures, which depict Johnson's basketball moves from diverse perspectives. Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of the book is its design. Type of varying size is arranged in a spectrum of configurations, some of which mimic the motion of a basketball. But the volume on the whole is erratic and will likely appeal mostly to hardcore hoops fans. Ages 5-9. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
School Library Journal
Gr 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 Cahners Business Information.
Dynamic, kid-centered book design, a poetic, pumped-up text set in a high-energy typeface, and jazzy line art set in vivid expanses of color all masterfully combine in this terrific picture-book paean to the life and career of Lakers' star Magic Johnson. An award-winning poet and the recipient of the American Book Award, with his co-author, for Miles: The Autobiography (1990), Troupe's text telescopes jazz-inflected phrasing and the punched-up energy of hip-hop culture with the potent coiled power of a talented, focused athlete, and, finally, explodes into the pure exhilaration of sport. "[T]ake the ball dazzling down the open lane / herk & jerk & raise your / six-foot, nine-inch frame / into air sweating screams / of your neon name . . . so put / the ball / on the floor / again, / �magic' . . . & deal the roundball like the / juju man that you am . . . like the sho-nuff spaceman you am" The versatile Evans (Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper's Daughter, p. 120, etc.) demonstrates that he is a particularly adept illustrator, one who, rather than being wedded to a single, signature style, selects the most effective technique and medium to pair with Troupe's non-narrative riffs. Evans employs changing, kaleidoscopic, points of view, with cartoony, active, and stylized figures. The paintings crowd the pages and push the physical limits of the book's covers while energetic, high-value palette imbue this book with the graphic-novel energy of fast-break play. A three-point shot from downtown! (Picture book. All ages)Turner, Ann LEARNING TO SWIM: A Memoir Scholastic (128 pp.) Oct. 2000