cover image Take It to the Hoop, Magic Johnson

Take It to the Hoop, Magic Johnson

Quincy Troupe. Jump at the Sun, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0510-5

Only occasional commas and a single dash break up Troupe's (Miles and Me) rambling, stream-of-consciousness tribute to the on-court skills of Magic Johnson. Though the momentum of the text recalls that of a basketball player in motion, much of the narrative is oblique and beyond the grasp of the intended audience. Addressing Johnson, Troupe celebrates this star's "" fusion of Shake 'n Bake/ energy, using everything possible,/ you created your own space to fly through--/ any moment now/ we expect your wings to spread/ feathers for that spooky takeoff/ of yours/ then, shake & glide & ride up in space/ till you hammer home a clothes-lining deuce off glass/ now,/ come back down with a reverse hoodoo gem/ off the spin & stick in sweet, popping/ nets clean from twenty feet, right side..."" High-contrast colors help animate Evans's (Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper's Daughter) stylized and often spare pictures, which depict Johnson's basketball moves from diverse perspectives. Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of the book is its design. Type of varying size is arranged in a spectrum of configurations, some of which mimic the motion of a basketball. But the volume on the whole is erratic and will likely appeal mostly to hardcore hoops fans. Ages 5-9. (Sept.)