cover image For the Love of the Game: Michael Jordan and Me

For the Love of the Game: Michael Jordan and Me

Eloise Greenfield. HarperCollins Publishers, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-027298-2

Michael Jordan's grace on the basketball court and understated salesmanship as a spokesperson for everything from athletic shoes to hot dogs has inspired a generation of kids who want to ""be like Mike."" In their latest collaboration, Greenfield and Gilchrist (Night on Neighborhood Street) try to harness Jordan's motivational abilities as a way of inspiring their readers to persevere in their own goals; however, author and artist achieve uneven results at best. Greenfield's metaphor-laden verse first describes Jordan on the court, then likens a child's important decisions in ""the game of life"" to the ones the athlete makes in play (""I take my stance/ I make my move""). A preponderance of eagle images in the illustrations and several creepy scenes of trees with faces and ghostly ""doomsayers"" unfortunately amplify the text's melodramatic tone. Though Jordan is arguably the best-known sports personality in decades, this supposed tribute assumes much-it barely includes any biographical data (save for ""From North Carolina,/ at guard, six-six,/ Mi--chael Jordan!"") and fails to mention Jordan's accomplishments or even his affiliation with the world champion Chicago Bulls; there's little here to hook his fans. The theme of boosting self-esteem and self-confidence may be well-intentioned, but the execution is wide of the mark. All ages. (Jan.)