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3.5 2
by Robert Burleigh, Stephen T. Johnson (Illustrator)

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Poetry comes alive on the basketball court. Feel the rough roundness of the ball. Celebrate the soaring freedom of the dunk. Savor the moment when all eyes focus on the long three-pointer.
In dynamic words and pictures, award-winning author Robert Burleigh and Caldecott Honor-artist Stephen T. Johnson capture the energy and passion that electrifies every moment


Poetry comes alive on the basketball court. Feel the rough roundness of the ball. Celebrate the soaring freedom of the dunk. Savor the moment when all eyes focus on the long three-pointer.
In dynamic words and pictures, award-winning author Robert Burleigh and Caldecott Honor-artist Stephen T. Johnson capture the energy and passion that electrifies every moment in a game of hoops.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An involving experience.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Sensuous.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A spellbinding book.”—The Boston Globe
Publishers Weekly
In a starred review PW said, "Anyone who has played basketball on a hot city playground or followed it courtside will respond to the sensuous, tactile tone of this poetic description of the game. Marvelous pastel drawings of teenagers on the court paired with the book's design turn up the heat." Ages 5-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The pastel images of these basketball players are magnificent. You can feel the game, the power of the girl as she drives to the basket, and the strength and skill of the other players as they dribble, twist, turn and leap in this fast moving pickup game. The words in white are inset in black frames and should be read aloud, because they echo what one sees in the pictures. You don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy this book, but sports fans are sure to like it. It would also serve as a good choice for the reluctant reader or as an introduction to poetic text.
School Library Journal
Gr 2 UpA handful of kids, a neighborhood court, and a ball are the elements that spring explosively to life in this ode to the game that captures the energy, the elation, the sheer poetry of basketball. (Nov. 1997)
Kirkus Reviews
Clumsy writing mars this otherwise breathless, evocative tribute to top-speed playground b-ball. Johnson demonstrates his brilliant technical versatility, switching from the photo- realistic stills of Alphabet City (1995) to dramatically swirling scenes, done with pastels, of older teens seen through burning orange light against sketchy backgrounds, gracefully leaping, twisting, or crouching in watchful anticipation as the ball circles the stringless hoop. The visual excitement outstrips the accompanying poem; Burleigh (Flight, 1991, etc.), when not employing Nike-style ad copy ("Hoops./The game./Feel it,") descends into confusing abstractions and poorly chosen imagery—"The ball/The way it answers whenever you call./The never-stop back and forth flow, like tides going in, going out." The attempt to capture the game in words is certainly in earnest; the outstanding art merits better.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.15(d)
AD260L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“An involving experience.”—Booklist
“Sensuous.”—Publishers Weekly
“A spellbinding book.”—The Boston Globe

Meet the Author

Robert Burleigh is the author of many books for children including Flight: the journey of Charles Lindbergh, which won the Orbus Pictus award. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

STEPHEN T. JOHNSON has illustrated many books for children, including two by Robert Burleigh: Goal and Hoops, an ALA Notable Children's Book and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. He lives in Kansas.

Customer Reviews

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Hoops 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you’ve ever played basketball, you know the feelings you have during the game. On offense, you have the adrenaline pumping through your body, ready to be released. You know the feeling of going back and forth, back and forth, with nothing happening. You know the excitement, when you make the ball go into the hoop and hear that sound, that swish. On defense, you know the waiting. You know the watching, just waiting to attack. You know the powerful feeling, when stealing the ball and getting that feeling of having the court to yourself, just you and the hoop. You know all of these feelings. Robert Burleigh does a really good job in describing the feelings of basketball in his book Hoops. Hoops, illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson, is an amazing book about the game of basketball. This isn’t the only book that both Robert Burleigh and Stephen T. Johnson collaborated on, they also collaborated the book called Goal. You can definitely tell that the chemistry is there, and that they love working together. The words in this book and the pictures are wonderful, so I can see why they work together. I like how Burleigh words a lot of the things in basketball such as: “The feathery fingertip roll /and slow soft slow drop. Instead of saying the finger roll drop in to the basket.” He uses feathery fingertip roll to describe it since a finger roll really is a soft touch of your finger tips. By that line you can tell that he uses a lot of detail and really knows basketball. His first and last lines repeat: “Hoops. / The game. / Feel it.” I think it gives the book a nice three lines and last three lines to end and start the book of with. I think it tells you to basically understand the game of basketball and like it. That's why I say the book is not only good for hoopers but for sports fans; you can relate it to your own life and think of ways to “feel” the sport that you play. This book muses on about the game of basketball, and how its played. It has a lot of feelings in it and aspects of the game, such as shooting, defense, and the flow. It also talks about the rhythm of basketball, and how it's kind of like a back and forth game. Throughout the book the author wants you to feel the game of basketball, and how it's played. The illustrator also does a magnificent job on this book. To me it looks like they are outside playing a game right during the sun setting and night time. I say that because of the dark and orange backgrounds that are in the majority of the pictures on each page. I also like how all of the colors go together. What I mean by that is, he doesn’t have orange and pink, he has colors that fit really well together, such as different shades of orange and yellow. This book really has a poetry vibe from its nice rhythm. I personally could relate to a lot of things that was said in this book, from the no-look passes to the shooting with arms in your face. I would definitely recommend this book to any sports lovers. Although, I think that if you don't know much about basketball you might not understand, but it's always a good way to learn about other sports. I also think that the pictures really describe the words that are being said in the book, which is why I think the illustrations are really nice. I also think that whether this is a children's book or not, anybody can read it ,that's how good it is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Beautful, warm illustrations depict ethnically diverse people. The language is reminicent of jazz with its sing-song quality and short sentences that sound slow and rounded. Great book for students working on fluency who read too fast!