One day at the basketball court, two kids, a familiar challenge--H.O.R.S.E.? But this isn’t your grandmother’s game of hoops.
Not when a layup
from the other side of the court
standing on one foot
with your eyes closed
is just the warm-up.
Around the neighborhood, around the world, off Saturn’s rings, the pair goes back and forth.
The game is as much about skill as it is about imagination.
A slam dunk from multi-award-winning author/illustrator Christopher Myers, H.O.R.S.E. is a celebration of the sport of basketball, the art of trash-talking, and the idea that what’s possible is bounded only by what you can dream.
I met author/illustrator/very-tall-person Christopher Myers this last spring in New York at a breakfast event put on by Egmont USA. Myers is a talented artist AND an entertaining conversationalist, and he kept our entire table amused with basketball stories. It was special to hear straight from the author about his inspiration for his Coretta Scott King Honor book. Afterward he was kind enough to personalize a copy of H.O.R.S.E. for me. It was an early meeting, so I can’t say I was my most sparkling self, but I remember the morning fondly, and the book is of course a beautiful reminder.
But what about the story? It’s a conversation between two kids in the city, united by their love of basketball and wide imaginations. They know the game H.O.R.S.E. by different names, and they may have different ideas of the parameters – but once it starts, their dreams expand. It’s half trash talk, half tall tale, and a joy to read. It’s a testament to the power of sport (or any shared interest) to unite people and fire imagination.
The artwork, though! It’s another step up. Mixed media (some paint, some altered photographs) blend to create the setting: first the basketball court, then the cityscape, and then the planet and space. The two unnamed main characters are African-American kids with a passion for the game, and Myers has distilled their gangly adolescence in these pages, as well as the boastful reach of their dreams.
In all, H.O.R.S.E. is a beautiful book and an homage to a game, a friendship, and telling stories.
Recommended for: all-ages fans of art, picture books, and basketball.
I read and reviewed this book as part of the #diversiverse challenge.
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Fine print: I received a finished copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.