cover image Rimshots: Basketball Pix, Rolls, and Rhythms

Rimshots: Basketball Pix, Rolls, and Rhythms

Charles R. Smith, Jr.. Dutton Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-46099-2

The endlessly energetic design is the most valuable player in this passionate, idiosyncratic collection of basketball photos, anecdotes, poems and reflections. Lots of colored type and artfully deployed fonts rev up commonplace observations or recollections (""I remember when I was the shortest on the team""; ""I remember seeing my parents in the stands, even though I just played the bench""); key words pop out in bright type to give the text the syncopated rhythm of courtside conversations. Curving lines of poems virtually roll across some spreads, enticing even verse-o-phobes to read closely. Smith ranges from the obvious (games he has played, action on the court) to the wry (a page titled ""Excuses"") to the idiosyncratic (writers whose books he read as he worked on this book) to the poignant (e.g., ""Meek""). A professional photographer, Smith is at his best with his informal, sepia-toned photos of basketball action on street courts, which focus largely on players' feet and legs rather than faces--a sophisticated treatment that goes well with the hip-hop look of the text. This unconventional book might well sneak up on kids who don't think they like to read and score a slam-dunk. Ages 8-up. (Feb.)