________________ CM . . . . Volume IV Number 5 . . . . October 31, 1997

NBA by the Numbers.

Bruce Brooks. Photographs from the National Basketball Association.
New York, NY: Scholastic Press, 1997. Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada.
32pp., cloth, $14.99.
ISBN 0-590-97578-1.

Subject Headings:
National Basketball Association-Juvenile literature.
Basketball players-United States-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3 and up / Ages 8 and up.
Review by Dave Jenkinson.

* /4


1 Alert Dribbler

For a basketball player, dribbling should become as natural as walking. The guards in the NBA never need to look at the ball to make sure it's under control. They have spent so much time dribbling - left and right - since childhood, that they FEEL the ball as it falls to the floor, bounces and comes back up, as if it were a part of their hands.
image Counting books are usually thought of as the tools of the "early childhood" class where they can be used to introduce and reinforce number concepts. However, the focus of NBA by the Numbers is not the promotion of numbers, but basketball, specifically, professional basketball in the form of the National Basketball Association. In a series of double-page spreads, the book "counts" from 1 to 10 plus adds the remaining tens to 50. In most instances, the actual number only reflects the number of photos on the double page. For example, on "9 Slammin' Dunkers" two pages, readers will find a few lines of bland text and the more important collage of nine colour action photos of NBA players executing a slam dunk. Some of the numbers and photos make no sense whatsoever. "20 Sensational Shoes," for instance, has more than 20 shoes and less than 20 photos; "40 Frantic Fingers" offers far fewer than the promised digits should anyone actually still consider this to be a counting book. For the true NBA fan, the fact that none of the players in the photos are identified should not pose a problem; however, the less knowledgeable "reader" will have to use the cumbersome "Index of Key Players" found at the book's conclusion to identify the various athletes.

      As a promotional piece for the NBA, NBA by the Numbers is excellent, but its usefulness within school and public libraries is highly questionable. Perhaps non-motivated readers might be enticed to pick it up, but older non-readers will be deterred by the book's "babyish" picturebook format. Beyond the bright action photos, readers will gain few insights into the sport. In short, more glitter than substance.

Not recommended.

Once upon a time, Dave Jenkinson, who now teaches children's and YA literature in the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba, was the coach of a high school girls basketball team.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364