Not likely to be a life-changing inspiration to any, save diehard Michael Jordan fans.

DREAM BIG

MICHAEL JORDAN AND THE PURSUIT OF OLYMPIC GOLD

Michael Jordan's mother returns for another story about her famous son's childhood.

Michael Jordan’s childhood dreams were always of playing basketball. His friends, brothers and mother are full of upbeat advice, encouraging him to work hard and keep practicing. After watching the U.S. Olympic team battle Russia, young Michael announces to his mother that he will be an Olympic basketball champion. More pat advice about dreamers and doers follows. But Michael puts his plan into action by asking his coach what he could do now to get closer to that dream. And in an ending that echoes Salt in His Shoes (cowritten with Roslyn Jordan and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, 2000), he goes to his older brother’s scrimmage and makes a three-pointer right over the heads of his opponents. An afterword sums up Michael’s journey to the Olympic Games—the culmination of lots of little steps undertaken day after day. While Michael’s story is an inspiring one, Jordan’s retelling may leave readers feeling less uplifted than bashed over the head. She tells rather than shows, and her emphasis on schoolwork, while worthy, is repeated a bit too often for either readers’ comfort or the flow of the story. Root’s watercolor-and-gouache illustrations convey to readers just how much Michael lives and breathes basketball.

Not likely to be a life-changing inspiration to any, save diehard Michael Jordan fans. (Picture book/biography. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-1269-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An early reader that kids will want to befriend.

NOT ME!

In an odd-couple pairing of Bear and Chipmunk, only one friend is truly happy to spend the day at the beach.

“Not me!” is poor Chipmunk’s lament each time Bear expresses the pleasure he takes in sunning, swimming, and other activities at the beach. While controlled, repetitive text makes the story accessible to new readers, slapstick humor characterizes the busy watercolor-and-ink illustrations and adds interest. Poor Chipmunk is pinched by a crab, buried in sand, and swept upside down into the water, to name just a few mishaps. Although other animal beachgoers seem to notice Chipmunk’s distress, Bear cheerily goes about his day and seems blithely ignorant of his friend’s misfortunes. The playful tone of the illustrations helps soften the dynamic so that it doesn’t seem as though Chipmunk is in grave danger or that Bear is cruel. As they leave at the end of the book Bear finally asks, “Why did you come?” and Chipmunk’s sweet response caps off the day with a warm sunset in the background.

An early reader that kids will want to befriend. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3546-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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