September 17, 2017

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The Playbook by Kwame Alexander | SLJ Audio Review

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redstarALEXANDER, Kwame. The Playbook: 52 Rules To Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life. 1 CD. 1 hr. Recorded Bks. Feb. 2017. $15.75. ISBN 9781501949180. digital download.

Gr 5-8 –Alexander delivers 52 inspiring rules and motivational life lessons using notable sports figures, terminology, and stories. Sections include “Warm-Up: The Rules,” in which Alexander reminisces about his childhood involvement in sports and the lessons he learned. Four “Quarters,” with a “Half Time” and an “Overtime,” comprise the rest of the book. Each section begins with an illuminating anecdote involving a famous sports figure (LeBron James, Pelé, Venus and Serena Williams, and Lew Alcindor/Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). The author continues to address his experiences with sports during the “Half Time” section, while “Overtime” sums up the messages and themes of the title in simple, memorable motivational phrases. Ruffin Prentiss’s narration is appropriately expressive and lively, with no hint of preaching or condescension. The pace moves well, leaving no room for a lack of focus or loss of attention. Since listeners do not have the opportunity to see the wonderful photographs and illustrations in the print version, the audio experience could be enhanced by using both formats together. VERDICT An excellent audio presentation featuring a fresh, creative approach to life lessons for young people.–Mary ­Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

This review was published in the School Library Journal September 2017 issue.

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