cover image H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination

H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination

Christopher Myers. Egmont USA, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-60684-218-8

This wonderfully inventive, mordant duel of words offers both an advanced discussion of a particular sport (basketball) and flights of big-talking fancy. The setting is urban; Myers (Looking Like Me) creates collages that combine painting, lots of blank space, and photo images of city buildings. A pair of gangly and competitive boys co-star. “Hey,” says one, “want to play a game of horse?” setting the stage for a war of words in which the boys propose ever more improbable shots, taking the one-upmanship, swagger, and style inherent to the game to delirious extremes. “I will stand on one tiny tiptoe, balance myself on the topmost corner of the 437-story building, and shoot a perfect layup, with my left... foot,” says one boy. “Now you tell me,” protests the other in mock dismay. “What?” “That we could leave the court.” Although the book lands softly after the last crazy idea (“from there, the ball will ricochet through the vacuum of space”), the energetic dialogue and gravity-defying artwork more than compensate. An excellent readaloud for kids who scorn fluffy-bunny books and want to play like the big kids. Ages 5–up. (Sept.)