Top positive review
Boys love this book.
Reviewed in the United States on May 7, 2016
I showed this book to my gifted 4th graders and the boys who previously showed very little interest in reading immediately loved this book. They loved the dust jacket, then they took that off and loved the texture of the book cover (which is like the skin of a basketball). Thank you, Kwame Alexander, for these hooks before they even opened the book. Then they loved that it was poetry (fewer words per page..."I'm on page 32!"), and they loved the first page - maybe the best first page ever written for a boy reader.
These kids were immediately sucked into the story. They loved the dynamics between the twin brothers, and the confidence of the narrator. They loved the father's pride in his son and that the father's language and taste was cheesy and dated.
I can't thank the author enough for writing something that sounds so real, so relevant, so current, for boys who want to recognize themselves and their families on the page. It's not easy for an adult to write authentically for children using current language and icons that appeal to children. The boys in my group didn't know all of the basketball stars in the book - I needed to tell them who Magic Johnson was, for example - but they are a bit younger than the intended audience.