You children’s literature aficionados may know the term ‘crossover’ as it applies to books that have both a child and adult audience but, unless you play basketball, you may not know that it also applies to a move in which a player dribbles a ball quickly from one hand to another. Stick around with this graphic novel, and you will learn a whole lot more: not only about basketball, but that what it takes to succeed as a player may be exactly what it takes to succeed in life. The narrator is Josh Bell, one of the teenage basketball crazy twins who play for the Wildcats, a Junior High School team. Nicknamed Filthy McNasty by his dad for his prowess on the court, Josh not only has a way with a ball, he also has a way with words and he treats us to both his enthusiasms as he takes us through a year in his life that brings conflict and tragedy off the court as well as success on it. Kwame Alexander divides the novel into quarters like a game and scatters Dad’s ‘Basketball Rules’ throughout. Rule 1, for instance: ‘In this game of life your family is the court and your ball is the heart. No matter how good you are. No matter how down you get. Always leave your heart on the court.’ This homespun wisdom, from a man who was a considerable success in his basketball career but whose main focus is now his family, grounds and directs Josh’s fireball energy, which comes across not only in Alexander’s words but in Anyabwile’s illustrations. The novel rejects the traditional comic-strip presentation for a bold interweaving of text and illustration in black and orange which has the dynamism and excitement of the game itself and in which Anyabwile shows himself well able to match Alexander’s potent mix of character, drama, humour and pathos. As a term, ‘crossover’ might also refer to the teenage years themselves. Josh and his brother are only just starting out on the game of life but there’s certainly enough in this year to both tax and teach them: ‘As coach likes to say, you can get used to things going well, but you’re never prepared for things going wrong’.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2020-03-05 11:37:242021-05-31 11:42:14The Crossover: Graphic Novel
Illustrator: Dawud Anyabwile