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TAKE IT TO THE HOOP, MAGIC JOHNSON by Quincy Troupe Kirkus Star


by Quincy Troupe & illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-7868-0510-2
Publisher: Disney-Jump at the Sun

Dynamic, kid-centered book design, a poetic, pumped-up text set in a high-energy typeface, and jazzy line art set in vivid expanses of color all masterfully combine in this terrific picture-book paean to the life and career of Lakers’ star Magic Johnson. An award-winning poet and the recipient of the American Book Award, with his co-author, for Miles: The Autobiography (1990), Troupe’s text telescopes jazz-inflected phrasing and the punched-up energy of hip-hop culture with the potent coiled power of a talented, focused athlete, and, finally, explodes into the pure exhilaration of sport. “[T]ake the ball dazzling down the open lane / herk & jerk & raise your / six-foot, nine-inch frame / into air sweating screams / of your neon name . . . so put / the ball / on the floor / again, / ‘magic’ . . . & deal the roundball like the / juju man that you am . . . like the sho-nuff spaceman you am” The versatile Evans (Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper’s Daughter, p. 120, etc.) demonstrates that he is a particularly adept illustrator, one who, rather than being wedded to a single, signature style, selects the most effective technique and medium to pair with Troupe’s non-narrative riffs. Evans employs changing, kaleidoscopic, points of view, with cartoony, active, and stylized figures. The paintings crowd the pages and push the physical limits of the book’s covers while energetic, high-value palette imbue this book with the graphic-novel energy of fast-break play. A three-point shot from downtown! (Picture book. All ages)