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.)" Copyright 2009 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.
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" Copyright 2009 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.