Around the World

By School Library Journal

A pickup basketball game in New York City expands to similar scenes of kids and hoops in nine other locations around the world. Cartoon panels show a girl named Tanika leading a fast break, then a page turn shifts to a moonlit court in Perth at the same moment. The Australian kids complete their fast break and subsequent spreads take readers to China, Turkey, and other locations before returning to finish of the New York game. Comic-book-style artwork captures the speed and motion of the sport with elongated figures and good use of small panels inset within larger views. Game details come through in dialogue bubbles, sound effects (“thwack!” and “swish”), and play-by-play description: ‘Vladimir finds Marko, who drives baseline.’ The language and look of the players convey their differences, as do the various venues, from an indoor Servian gym to cool beachside hoops in Puerto Rico. This helps reaffirm the commonalities of the sport, regardless of the setting… This titles helps fill the need for books about kids from different countries, with particular appeal to fans of comics or basketball or both.

Tanika and Jamal’s New York City playground game cleverly morphs into a single continuous pickup game of basketball played simultaneously in nine other locations around the globe. The vibrant, comic-style spreads are packed with expressive, elongated players; sound effects; dialogue bubbles; crisp game commentary; and visual details of various cultures. Competitive passion for basketball is universal!