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Contributor(s): Alexander, Kwame

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ISBN: 0544107713     ISBN-13: 9780544107717
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Binding Type: Hardcover - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: March 2014
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Annotation: A middle-grade novel in verse follows the experiences of twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan, who struggle with challenges on and off the court while their father ignores his declining health. 20,000 first printing.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Novels in verse.
Basketball; Fiction.
Twins; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Family | Parents
- Juvenile Fiction | Family | Siblings
- Juvenile Fiction | School & Education
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2013013810
Lexile Measure: 750
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.00" H x 5.00" W x 0.75" (0.80 lbs) 237 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 164734
Reading Level: 4.3   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 2.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q63507
Reading Level: 4.6   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 7.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): iv>
Kwame Alexander is a poet, children's book author, playwright, producer, public speaker and performer. He conducts creative writing workshops in middle and high schools, often reaching more than 500 students monthly. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the Washington, D.C. area. Visit his website at kwamealexander.com.


Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Fall)
Twelve-year-old twins Josh and Jordan (JB) are a well-oiled machine on the basketball court. But then JB gets a girlfriend, and before Josh knows it, things start to change. Josh's narration is a combination of exciting play-by-play game details, insightful observations on middle school, and poignant meditations on sibling dynamics and familial love. This verse novel has massive appeal for reluctant readers.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2014 #3)
Josh and Jordan (JB), identical twin sons of former basketball phenom Chuck "Da Man" Bell, are ball legends themselves, and they aren't yet thirteen; Josh is the only middle schooler around who can dunk, JB has a mean three-point shot, and together they're a well-oiled machine on the court. But then things start to change, as they tend to do at their age: JB gets a girlfriend, and before Josh knows it, their relationship is strained to the point of a mid-game altercation that lands him benched for weeks. On top of that, their mother frets constantly over Dad's poor health, and the boys begin to worry, too. Josh's first-person verse narration is a combination of exciting play-by-play game details, insightful middle-school observations, and poignant meditations on sibling dynamics and familial love. Since poet Alexander has the swagger and cool confidence of a star player and the finesse of a perfectly in-control ball-handler, wordplay and alliteration roll out like hip-hop lyrics, and the use of concrete forms and playful font changes keep things dynamic: "SWOOP in / to the finish with a fierce finger roll… / Straight in the hole: / Swoooooooooooosh." Alexander brings the novel-in-verse format to a fresh audience with this massively appealing package for reluctant readers, athletes especially. katrina hedee Copyright 2014 Horn Book Magazine.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2014 January #3)

Josh Bell, known on and off the court by the nickname Filthy McNasty, doesn't lack self-confidence, but neither does he lack the skills to back up his own mental in-game commentary: "I rise like a Learjet—/ seventh-graders aren't supposed to dunk./ But guess what?/ I snatch the ball out of the air and/ SLAM!/ YAM! IN YOUR MUG!" Josh is sure that he and his twin brother, JB, are going pro, following in the footsteps of their father, who played professional ball in Europe. But Alexander (He Said, She Said) drops hints that Josh's trajectory may be headed back toward Earth: his relationship with JB is strained by a new girl at school, and the boys' father health is in increasingly shaky territory. The poems dodge and weave with the speed of a point guard driving for the basket, mixing basketball action with vocabulary-themed poems, newspaper clippings, and Josh's sincere first-person accounts that swing from moments of swagger-worthy triumph to profound pain. This verse novel delivers a real emotional punch before the final buzzer. Ages 9–12. Agent: East West Literary Agency. (Mar.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2014 March)

Gr 6–10—Twins Josh and Jordan are junior high basketball stars, thanks in large part to the coaching of their dad, a former professional baller who was forced to quit playing for health reasons, and the firm, but loving support of their assistant-principal mom. Josh, better known as Filthy McNasty, earned his nickname for his enviable skills on the court: "…when Filthy gets hot/He has a SLAMMERIFIC SHOT." In this novel in verse, the brothers begin moving apart from each other for the first time. Jordan starts dating the "pulchritudinous" Miss Sweet Tea, and Josh has a tough time keeping his jealousy and feelings of abandonment in control. Alexander's poems vary from the pulsing, aggressive beats of a basketball game ("My shot is F L O W I N G, Flying, fluttering…. ringaling and SWINGALING/Swish. Game/over") to the more introspective musings of a child struggling into adolescence ("Sit beside JB at dinner. He moves./Tell him a joke. He doesn't even smile….Say I'm sorry/but he won't listen"). Despite his immaturity, Josh is a likable, funny, and authentic character. Underscoring the sports and the fraternal tension is a portrait of a family that truly loves and supports one another. Alexander has crafted a story that vibrates with energy and heart and begs to be read aloud. A slam dunk.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal.

[Page 132]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
 
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