DREAM BIG

MICHAEL JORDAN AND THE PURSUIT OF OLYMPIC GOLD

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

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. 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

LET'S DANCE!

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

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. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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