You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!

You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!

4.5 2
by Jonah Winter, Terry Widener
     
 

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Many believe baseball great Willie Mays to be the best player that ever lived. He hit 660 home runs (fourth best of all time), had a lifetime batting average of .302, and is second only to Babe Ruth on The Sporting News's list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players."

In Jonah Winter and Terry Widener's fascinating picture book biography, young readers

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Overview

Many believe baseball great Willie Mays to be the best player that ever lived. He hit 660 home runs (fourth best of all time), had a lifetime batting average of .302, and is second only to Babe Ruth on The Sporting News's list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players."

In Jonah Winter and Terry Widener's fascinating picture book biography, young readers can follow Mays's unparalleled career from growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, to playing awe-inspiring ball in the Negro Leagues and then the Majors, where he was center fielder for the New York (later San Francisco) Giants. Complete with sidebars filled with stats, here is a book for all baseball lovers, young and old.

"The Say Hey Kid had style to spare, and so does this irrepressible book." —Booklist, Starred

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
African American baseball great Willie Mays swings his bat across the lenticular cover of this story about his rise to fame. His early goal is to be a baseball hero like Joe DiMaggio, but blacks are not allowed to play in the major leagues in this time of segregation. So Willie, a naturally good player, grows up playing for black teams during his summer vacations. By 1951, however, black players begin to play in the majors. Mays joins the Giants and is recognized as Rookie of the Year. What fans love best about him is how hard he plays. After being drafted and serving two years in the army, Mays returns, playing better than ever. Winter writes that "[h]e changed how people saw his skin. In his own way, he changed the world." Naturalistic, mainly double-page acrylic paintings tell the visual story, adding a romanticism that shows to the special qualities of the baseball hero. Baseball cards on the endpages show him gradually maturing. Winter includes copious notes. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The New York Times Book Review - Pamela Paul
…magnificent…Winter's heartfelt, accessible text…is infused with immediacy and enthusiasm…Widener's lush, expressive paintings pull the reader right into the game.
Publishers Weekly
Winter and Widener, who previously teamed up on Steel Town, return with a stellar companion to Winter’s equally superb You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! Like its predecessor, this profile of Hall of Famer Mays immediately grabs attention with its lenticular cover; however, it’s Mays’s on-the-field feats that cement his place in baseball lore, especially that unbelievable catch during the 1954 World Series. Growing up in Birmingham, Ala., Mays “was the kid all the other kids wanted on their team.” Before long, his talent is recognized and, at age 15, he got his start in the Negro Leagues. “Suddenly, this teenage kid was makin’ more money than his pop,” writes Winter in the colloquial voice of a practiced raconteur. “And when, the year after that, the major leagues ended their stupid rule barrin’ black guys, there was a ray of hope that one day Willie might play in the majors, like Joe DiMaggio.” Widener’s smoky, smudgy acrylics project the determination and dedication that took Mays from industrial, segregated Birmingham to the national stage. A must-have for baseball fans. Ages 4–9. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February 2013:
“Even adults who are indifferent to baseball will likely be so drawn into Mays’ story and Winter’s rousing text that they’ll want to gather up a crowd just to read this one aloud.”

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, December 3, 2012:
“A must-have for baseball fans.”

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2012:
“An all-star gem to share with grandparents, parents, children, baseball fans and anyone else.”

Starred Review, Booklist, September 1, 2012:
“The Say Hey Kid had style to spare, and so does this irrepressible book.”

School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—As an avid baseball fan, Winter has written another picture-book biography similar in style to his popular You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! (Random, 2009). The cover art again uses an eye-catching, lenticular 3-D design, this time showing Mays in three alternate poses. The author extends great praise for his subject and uses excerpts from radio broadcasts of the era to lend accuracy. His tone is casual from his conversational phrasing-"Then like a lotta guys his age, Willie got drafted…"-to the dropping of the final letter "g" for verbs such as "goin'," "countin'," or "fightin'." There are a few distractions from the narrative, such as parenthetical notes that are boxed off at the bottom of many pages. In addition, the author frequently interjects his opinion ("Yep they were better") in reference to the Negro league players compared to the Caucasian major leaguers of that era. Widener's attractive illustrations, rendered in acrylic on chipboard, are painterly and match the mood of the text. One particularly enjoyable page shows Mays on his knees making "The Catch," which is one of the famous moments in his career. Fans of baseball will welcome this newest offering.—Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
Kirkus Reviews
The greatest baseball player of all time?! In an unabashedly adulatory bio of New York Giants and later San Francisco Giants and later still New York Mets center fielder, Winter drives his point home. With folksy pen in hand, he rounds the bases and scores in this life of a Negro League and National League star. Mays could run the bases, field his position, hit, win games and wow the crowds. In this companion to You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! (illustrated by André Carrilho, 2009), the author distills a career with great skill. Special attention is given to his legendary plays, the Throw and the Catch, and other spectacular feats, with Winter either paraphrasing or quoting from radio broadcasts. Additional facts are presented in ticket-shaped sidebars. Widener's superb acrylic paintings on chipboard capture every glorious moment, more so than the grainy black-and-white cameras of the time. And the cover?! Mays' powerful swing is reenacted in lenticular movement. Unlike Jackie Robinson, Mays never marched in civil rights protests. He believed that he proved his worth in the ballpark, and Winter's presentation supports this. Say hey! An all-star gem to share with grandparents, parents, children, baseball fans and anyone else. (author's note, career highlights, glossary of baseball terms, online resources) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375968440
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
01/08/2013
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
1010L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February 2013:
“Even adults who are indifferent to baseball will likely be so drawn into Mays’ story and Winter’s rousing text that they’ll want to gather up a crowd just to read this one aloud.”

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, December 3, 2012:
“A must-have for baseball fans.”

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2012:
“An all-star gem to share with grandparents, parents, children, baseball fans and anyone else.”

Starred Review, Booklist, September 1, 2012:
“The Say Hey Kid had style to spare, and so does this irrepressible book.”

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