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Salt in His Shoes

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Michael Jordan's mother and sister team up for an inspirational story about this athlete's earliest on-court efforts. Nelson (Big Jabe) is also a strong player here; he contributes animated art, rendered in a cartoon style that is informal yet polished. In the opening scenario, a bully intimidates young Jordan during a basketball game at a neighborhood park, causing him to flub a pass. Michael tells his older brothers, "I am really sorry, guys. If I were taller that wouldn't have happened." When he asks his mother what will make him grow, she advises him to put salt in his shoes and say a prayer every night. Though he obligesDand continues to practice shooting baskets at homeDhis efforts don't immediately pay off. One day, his father convinces him that, rather than being tall, "practice, determination, and giving your best" are the keys to being "a real winner," and Michael runs off to join his brothers in the park, where he makes the game's winning shot. Though the book ends with a rather facile slam-dunk, the authors offer authoritative insight into this six-foot-six-inch-tall hoopster's boyhood spunk as well as reassurance to young athletes impatient for a growth spurt. Nelson handily balances in-your-face on-court action with more reflective portraits of the player's inner growth. All ages. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Gr 2-4-Deloris Jordan tells of an episode in her famous son's childhood in which the future superstar yearned to be a better basketball player. Michael wished to be taller so that he could compete with the bigger kids, particularly one member of an opposing team. His mother suggested that a combination of salt in his shoes, patience, and prayer would do the trick. Michael, seeing his mother's success with plants, agreed to give it a try, but after several months, he was disappointed to see that he was still the same size. While his mother prayed, he practiced instead of playing but still he didn't grow. When he told his father that he needed to be taller, his father explained that he was already a great player because of his heart, and that "practice, determination, and giving your best" were the things that made someone a winner. Michael returned to playing basketball and made the winning basket for his brothers' team. This readable and entertaining story will delight the superstar's fans. Nelson's illustrations bring the right blend of vivid color, realism, and personality, giving youngsters plenty of details to pore over between readings. It should read aloud well for younger children and their parents, and independent readers will enjoy it on their own.-Jeffrey A. French, Euclid Public Library, OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Miami Herald The power of myth-in-the-making. Kirkus Reviews Soul-satisfying. Chicago magazine An inspiring piece of Jordaniana. Boston Herald [A] slam-dunk effort. The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books A picture-book winner.

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