Sunday, June 17, 2007

Review: Michael's Golden Rules

Michael’s Golden Rules by Deloris Jordan with Roslyn M. Jordan, 2007, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, approximately 30 pages, hard cover.

Summer is here and it is baseball season. What better way to get in the mood than by reading an uplifting story about the real winning spirit of baseball, or for that matter, any team sport.

Michael’s Golden Rules written by Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan, the mother and sister of Michael Jordan, is a story about developing a winning attitude, hard work, and playing “a good game.”

After Jonathan strikes out, he is taken aback when his best friend’s Uncle Jack says they played “a good game.”

“How could we have played a good game when we lost?” he wants to know.

Uncle Jack promises to explain the “ten golden rules of baseball.”

With one more game to go, the Badgers could use some golden rules, especially Jonathan, who feels like anything but a winner. If the team wins, they will make it to the Little League play-offs. But they need to “play like a team.” Can they do it?

There is a lot to like about this colorful picture book. “The ten golden rules” are not a magic formula for success. They don’t work unless they are put into practice. One of the best things about them is that they put people first. In other words, being kind to others is more important than revenge or winning the game.

Another strong point of this story is that it does not give children false notions, such as if you dream it, it can happen. Sitting around and day-dreaming without hard work, persevering effort, and practice, practice, practice, besides not knowing your strengths and weakness, so you don't know what skills to practice on, does not create a baseball star or any kind of super athlete. In the end, Jonathan learns that it can be fun to play like a winner and that practicing makes a big difference.

Michael Jordan wrote the introduction and talks about how the principles of this story applied to his own experiences of playing baseball in his youth.

His mother’s dedication is also inspiring to read.

The illustrations by Kadir Nelson, a personal favorite, are bold, colorful and engaging. They truly capture the spirit of the game. His depictions of children always express the joy and wonder of youth.

Ages 4-8.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Yank. 6/17/07

Available from your local bookstore.

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