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You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!



by
Jonah Winter
illustrated by
Terry Widener

Edition
Library edition
Publisher
Random House
Imprint
Schwartz & Wade
ISBN
9780375968440

Awards and Honors
Booklist 2013 Top Ten Books for Youth, Black History, Biographies, & Sports; Bulletin Blue Ribbon 2013, Nonfiction; 2014 IRA Teachers’ Choices, Intermediate Readers
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“Oh, geez, where to begin?” An enthusiastic Giants fan shares the story of Willie Mays, one of the first African Americans to play in baseball’s major leagues. Author’s note. Highlights of Willie Mays’s career. Glossary. Notes about the statistics and radio-broadcast quotes used in the book. Full-color illustrations done in acrylic on chipboard. Lenticular cover.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

40

Trim Size

9" x 11"

Dewey

796.357092 B

AR

4.8: points 0.5

Lexile

850L

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

3

JLG Release

Mar 2013

Book Genres


Topics

Willie Mays (1931- ). Baseball players. African Americans. New York Giants.

Standard MARC Records

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books*, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

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

Horn Book

This companion to You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! (rev. 3/09), lenticular cover and all, focuses on African American baseball great Mays, the “Say Hey Kid.” As a twenty-year-old rookie in 1951 playing in his first game in the Polo Grounds, fresh from the Negro Leagues and facing the great Warren Spahn, he blasted a home run over the left-field roof. Mays went on to become a player who was “Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Joe DiMaggio all rolled into one,” a player near the top of every key statistical category—homers, stolen bases, hits, and runs—even though his baseball career was interrupted by two years of service in the armed forces. Winter’s text is narrated by an enthusiastic and admiring New York Giants fan (“You never heard of Willie Mays?! THE Willie Mays?! Oh, geez, where to begin?”), and readers may well feel they’re at the ballpark, witnessing Mays’s signature basket catches, his famous over-the-head catch in center field, and his electrifying base stealing, all captured in Widener’s dynamic acrylic illustrations. Many spreads include baseball ticket–shaped sidebars with information about other ball-playing greats, baseball history, Mays’s statistics, and how he stacks up against other players including Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, and Lou Gehrig. A solid, informative, and entertaining sports picture book that reads like a loud cheer from the stands. With a glossary of baseball terms and assorted source notes. dean schneider

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

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

Horn Book

This companion to You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! (rev. 3/09), lenticular cover and all, focuses on African American baseball great Mays, the “Say Hey Kid.” As a twenty-year-old rookie in 1951 playing in his first game in the Polo Grounds, fresh from the Negro Leagues and facing the great Warren Spahn, he blasted a home run over the left-field roof. Mays went on to become a player who was “Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Joe DiMaggio all rolled into one,” a player near the top of every key statistical category—homers, stolen bases, hits, and runs—even though his baseball career was interrupted by two years of service in the armed forces. Winter’s text is narrated by an enthusiastic and admiring New York Giants fan (“You never heard of Willie Mays?! THE Willie Mays?! Oh, geez, where to begin?”), and readers may well feel they’re at the ballpark, witnessing Mays’s signature basket catches, his famous over-the-head catch in center field, and his electrifying base stealing, all captured in Widener’s dynamic acrylic illustrations. Many spreads include baseball ticket–shaped sidebars with information about other ball-playing greats, baseball history, Mays’s statistics, and how he stacks up against other players including Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, and Lou Gehrig. A solid, informative, and entertaining sports picture book that reads like a loud cheer from the stands. With a glossary of baseball terms and assorted source notes. dean schneider

Grades 2-6
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Interests
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