Because of the rhythm of the text, this book is great when read aloud. This inspiring story describes a poor black boy who overcomes incredible odds to become a star athlete. Boys and girls alike will enjoy this story. The illustrations are colorful and eye-catching, making this a special treat for any baseball fan or player. Easy-to-read and understand, this biography also presents a piece of history. 2000, Hyperion Books for Children, $15.99. Ages 3 to 8. Reviewer: J. Cooper SOURCE: Parent Council Volume 8
- Heidi Green
Written in rhyming text, and punctuated by the refrain, "Say hey, Willie. Say hey," this is the biography of one of the most captivating baseball players ever, Willie Mays, a.k.a. "The Say Hey Kid." Born in Alabama, Willie always loved baseball. When he grew up, he played in the Negro Leagues until a scout recruited him to play for the New York Giants. His amazing talents gained quick recognition, and Willie was soon named Rookie of the Year. In 1954, he made "what is considered to be the best catch of all time" and, much later, this multi-talented player was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. An author's note explains many of the references made within the poem. Readers will enjoy adding their own voices to "Say hey"--they may not be able to resist.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Known as the "Say Hey Kid" because of his youthful enthusiasm, Mays was a center fielder for the New York Giants and remains among the greatest home-run hitters in history. However, readers will understand these facts only after finishing the appendix. The rhyming text is often forced and awkward. The refrain of "Say hey, Willie. Say hey" is the one redeeming line that provides continuity. In fact, the simplicity of the narrative often results in confusion and lack of clarity-"It just don't matter, Willie Mays,/that I'm a poor kid just like you./-It doesn't matter. You're the best./There ain't nothin' we can't do!" Tate's colorful acrylic paintings were created by using live models and a digital-modeling computer program. Placement of the characters and objects shows exciting movement and action across the pages (such as the swinging of the bat and the picture of the ball sailing straight toward the audience) yet close-ups of facial features retain a surrealistic look. Mays's autobiography, Say Hey (S & S, 1988; o.p.), is for older readers, but easy biographies of the slugger are scarce. Librarians wanting some substance on this famous ballplayer will have to look further.-Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Glenn Michael Gordon
The rags to riches story of the great baseball Hall of Famer is told in catchy verse.