Review of The Legend of Gravity: A Tall Basketball Tale

The Legend of Gravity: A Tall Basketball Tale
by Charly Palmer; illus. by the author
Primary    Farrar    40 pp.    g
1/22    978-0-374-31328-9    $18.99

Summer on the blacktop courts of ­Milwaukee gets infinitely more exciting when a new kid joins the Eagles. From the first time they see him handle a basketball, the team members know that with Gravity on their squad they have a chance to be the best in the city. Palmer’s (Mama Africa!, rev. 11/17; A Plan for the People, rev. 7/21) entertaining modern-day tall tale, told in direct-address by teammate Butta, is heavy on both hyperbole and basketball action: “Gravity once jumped so high that we were able to go out for ice cream before he came down.” On-point gameplay descriptions bring readers into the action as the awe-inspiring heroics of a mythically great ballplayer take center court. The story’s climax is at the city finals where the Eagles realize they can’t rely only on Gravity’s immense skills and abilities to overcome their opponents. Vivid colors and heavy brushstrokes bring the city, its courts, and the characters to life, with the fluid basketball movements and positioning of the players being exceptionally well rendered. Palmer’s author note dedicates the story to “unsung basketball greats who never made it to the NBA but left a lasting impression on those who witnessed their incredible feats and heard their amazing stories.” Hand off to fans of Peoples-Riley’s I Got Next (rev. 11/19) and Myers’s H.O.R.S.E. (rev. 1/13).

From the January/February 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Eric Carpenter
Eric Carpenter
Eric Carpenter is the school librarian at Fred A. Toomer Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia.

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