by Kwame Alexander (Author) Dawud Anyabwile (Illustrator)
The Crossover is now a graphic novel!
"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . . The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. 'Cuz tonight I'm delivering," raps twelve-year-old Josh Bell. Thanks to their dad, he and his twin brother, Jordan, are kings on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood--he's got mad beats, too, which help him find his rhythm when it's all on the line. See the Bell family in a whole new light through Dawud Anyabwile's dynamic illustrations as the brothers' winning season unfolds, and the world as they know it begins to change.
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In this graphic novel adaptation of Alexander's 2015 Newbery-winning novel, Anyabwile's clean lines, athletic characters, and free-form layouts capture the fluid poetry of basketball and the helplessness and confusion of early adolescence. Middle school basketball star Josh "Filthy McNasty" Bell navigates sibling rivalry with his twin brother, JB, on and off the court. The two are neither clones nor opposites; they share plenty, but Josh tends to brood while JB runs cool. Josh's jealousy over JB's first girlfriend, Alexis, eventually takes a backseat to their father Chuck's escalating health problems. A former Euroleague champion sidelined by a knee injury, Chuck has always been averse to medical treatment, provoking a family crisis. Alexander's complex, affectionate family portrait is augmented by Anyabwile's dynamic characterizations; when the boys' father gets in a ref's face and their mother pulls him back, each character's pain is palpable on the page. With confident strokes and choice details--likenesses of rappers attending "five reasons I have locks," movement-filled moments on the court, and a close-up on a saltshaker alongside an explanation of hypertension--the graphic version brings out the best in the original, as any good teammate should. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 10-12. (Sept.)Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Gr 5-8--A fresh look at the Newbery Medal-winning book, still told in verse but now stunningly illustrated by Anyabwile. Josh and Jordan Bell are 12-year-old twins who have each other's backs, on and off the basketball court. With the support of their loving parents, they're on track for an amazing season, hoping to claim the championship trophy for their junior high. But everything changes, and the boys and their family find themselves on the brink of a crisis. Basketball is important to the novel, with the brothers' rivalry and game action fueling many of the poems. But the heart of the story is the joy and heartbreak of family love. In this graphic novel/prose hybrid, characters are sympathetically drawn and distinct. The text is thoughtfully positioned and sized, moving the narrative quickly along and complementing the energetic artwork, which is rendered in grayscale with burnt orange accents. VERDICT With lively poems that use basketball as a metaphor for life, this mix of free verse, hip-hop, and powerful artwork will resonate with fans of the original book and inspire a new audience of nascent players, artists, and poets.--Kelley Gile, Cheshire Public Library, CTCopyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.