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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Crazy About Basketball, written and illustrated by Loris Lesynski. Annick Press, 2013. $12.95 ages 6 and up

"fake left
spin right
move fast
move light
brain on red alert
in motion
heart is pumping
with emotion
some moves smooth
some sharp and angled
don't know how
we stay untangled"

On the heels of her very popular Crazy About Soccer, Loris Lesynski has added another stellar book to her ever-growing list of publications. It is sure to garner even more sports fans and to encourage an appreciation of the rhyme and rhythm of our language. What a bonus for all!

There are 32 poems in the collection and each one is sure to engage readers. As the mother of a son who ate, slept, and lived basketball through his middle and high school years, I can relate to many of the poems that Ms. Lesynski has penned for this new book. He seemed born to play basketball and it was the only sport that really interested him despite all attempts to have him try his hand at others. These poems would certainly have held appeal for him at that time. One of the questions I am often asked concerns boys and reading...and requests are constantly made for lists of 'books for boys'. I will definitely add both of her two latest books to any list I create.

The poems are funny, spirited and full of basketball talk and moves:

"What's the most popular
game of all?
For balls, of course,
We don't get clubbed.
We don't get hit.
We don't get smacked.
There are no kicks.
We never get attacked
with sticks.
It's always so exciting when
we bounce,
  then bounce,
     then BOUNCE again!
And much as we LIKE
the pats we get,
boy, do we LOVE
getting dunked in the net!"

Very little about the game is left out, and much can be learned that might not be familiar to some players and readers. The sounds of the game, the excitement felt by those playing and those who watch is evident at every turn.

The author's cartoon-inspired artwork is filled with bright color, constant movement, expressive faces and humor. What more can we ask?  Sure to be a hit with anyone who reads or shares it, let's keep our fingers crossed that a third collection is in the works. I wonder what sport might pop up next.  

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