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SALT IN HIS SHOES by Deloris Jordan

SALT IN HIS SHOES

Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream

By Deloris Jordan (Author) , Roslyn Jordan (Author) , Kadir Nelson (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-689-83371-7
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Mother and sister combine to tell of a sweet-natured family reminiscence based on the childhood of America’s most famous athlete: the one and only Michael Jordan. In this fable, Michael’s own special brand of hoop dreams begins on a Saturday morning. Older brothers Larry and Ronnie play a regular pick-up game on a local court, which Michael is desperate to join. The tallest boy in the game, Mark, seems to sense Michael’s intensity and strong competitive urge. In fact, every time “Mikey” joins in, replacing no-show older kids with longer legs and far greater reach, Mark focuses especially on him—stealing the ball and winning the game. Michael feels the loss acutely. He even apologizes to his brothers, who understand and remind that after all, he’s the smallest player in the game. Once home, Michael takes a time-out with Mama, who’s cooking dinner for their large and active family. When Michael confides his desire to be tall. Mama, as usual, has the answer. “We’ll put salt in your shoes and say a prayer every night. Before you know it, you’ll be taller!” Young Michael does what his Mama suggests. Salt and prayers. But he adds one more thing—practice, practice, practice. Michael wore “his game shoes everywhere.” But after a few months, downhearted that he hasn’t grown as fast as he’d hoped, he has a one-on-one talk with Daddy. His counsel is as wise as Mama’s: “ ‘ . . .you’ve already got everything it takes to be a winner: right in here.’ Daddy tapped Michael on his chest.” Buoyed, Michael rushes to the court and scores the game-winning two-pointer—over the head of Mark. Nelson’s paintings add zest and child appeal though the book’s design and look makes it seem like a companion to dancer-choreographer Debbie Allen’s Dancing in the Wings (p. 1190), which Nelson also illustrated. This can be a source of soul-satisfying inspiration for kids who will probably read it as pure fact. But is it? Probably not. Professional athletes of Jordan’s caliber and talent have already achieved mythic proportions. Put this next to the shoes, ball, and Bulls jersey under the tree. (Picture Book. 6-9)