cover image JUMP!: From the Life of Michael Jordan

JUMP!: From the Life of Michael Jordan

Floyd Cooper, . . Philomel, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-399-24230-4

Fittingly featuring a vertical format, this winning portrait of the legendary basketball player centers on his childhood and adolescence. Cooper (Be Good to Eddie Lee ) characterizes Michael as a boy of boundless energy, determined to keep up with his talented older brother, Larry—and to beat him at one-on-one. Though he fails to land a spot on his high-school varsity basketball team, Michael sticks with the sport and, with encouragement from and early-morning sessions with his devoted coach, greatly improves his game. In a vertical gatefold that captures the energy and exuberance of the moment, Cooper re-creates the triumphant breakthrough when Michael first out-jumps Larry—and scores a basket. Though delivering an inspirational message (his opening note suggests that "with perseverance and determination, a greatness may be within reach of us all"), the author avoids a preachy tone. Like the picture book by Jordan's mother and sister, Salt in His Shoes (2001), this account emphasizes the athlete's endless hours of practice, offering hope to dedicated players. Rendered in umber washes of oil, subtracted with an eraser and tinted with mild glazes of mixed media, the earth-toned art retains a pastel-like softness, and nimbly conveys the story's ample motion and emotion. A concluding wrap-up chronicles highlights of Jordan's career. An obvious fan of his subject and this sport, Cooper shoots from the heart—and easily hits his mark. Ages 5-up. (Oct.)