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 can

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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

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
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.”

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
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:
9780375987823
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
01/08/2013
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
1,043,820
Lexile:
1010L (what's this?)
File size:
3 MB
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.”

Meet the Author

Jonah Winter and Terry Widener collaborated on one previous picture book, Steel Town. Jonah is also the author of You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!, which received three starred reviews; Here Comes the Garbage Barge!, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; and Dizzy, the recipient of Best Book of the Year citations from Booklist, School Library Journal, Horn Book, The Bulletin, and Kirkus Reviews. His other picture book biographies include Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Diego, and Frida, a Parents' Choice Gold Medal winner. Terry Widener's acclaimed picture books include Lou Gerhrig, The Luckiest Man, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book, and IRA Teachers' Choice; and America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle, an ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book, Child Magazine Best Book of the Year, and School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.

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You Never Heard of Willie Mays?! 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
This_Kid_Reviews_Books More than 1 year ago
This book tells the story about how young Willie wanted to be “the next Joe DiMaggio” and practiced VERY hard. When he was growing up, African-Americans were treated unfairly and weren’t allowed to play in the National League. They had to play in the Negro League. The thing is, a lot of the Negro League teams were better than the National League teams, but the African-American players weren’t allowed to play. Willie started to play in the Negro Leagues at age 15 with the adults until “the major leagues ended their stupid rule barrin’ black guys“. Willie was signed to play with the New York Giants and lead them to the World Series! He could do it all, bat, run, throw. He became the best player of his time and he was a nice person. Why I liked this book – Well, first off, the illustrations are MARVELOUS! I like the way the story is narrated, I love the ‘voice’ of the book! I can totally hear someone telling the story! The message is totally awesome – I hear the message “with great power comes great responsibility” in the story… oh wait that was Uncle Ben in Spiderman. Well, you still get that message in this book. Mr. Mays had great powers and he used them for good. The story says that if you work hard, you get great rewards even if you are up against tough things! There is a baseball glossary in the back of the book and all of Willie Mays statistics. I like how there are little fact boxes spread all throughout the book to tell you different facts about baseball at the time Willie Mays was playing. I think kids 6+ will enjoy this book! **Note I bought my own copy of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book it is