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You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!
Cover of You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!
You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!
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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 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

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

Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.8
  • Lexile:
    850
  • Interest Level:
    LG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 5

Recommended for you

About 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.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 3, 2012
    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.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from December 1, 2012
    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 Andre 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)

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2013

    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

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from September 1, 2012
    Grades 2-4 *Starred Review* Winter follows up You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! (2009), a Booklist Top of the ListYouth Nonfiction winner, with an ebullient look at another groundbreaking baseballer. Winter's squirming-in-his-seat excitement gives this abbreviated bio the feel of a baseball cardwielding kid slapping his forehead in disbelief: You never heard of Willie Mays?! THE Willie Mays?! Oh, geez, where to begin? How about here: Mays is a gangly lad in Alabama who idolizes Joltin' Joe DiMaggio, even though blacks aren't allowed to play in Joe's league craziest rule there ever was. Mimicking Joe's techniques, Willie joins the recently integrated New York Giants at 20, lifting the floundering club to new heights before a nation that must finally admit that baseball's best player is black. Text boxes offer up mind-numbing stats and fearless conclusions ( Yep, they were better, Winter writes when comparing the Negro League to the pros), but Winter's forte is describing impossible-to-describe plays: It was hit too far, too hard, and Willie has his back to itlookin' like he might run smack into the WALL! Meanwhile, Widener's lumpy, blurry-edged, off-kilter acrylics are perfect for rendering the alternately joyful and fierce Mays as larger than life. The Say Hey Kid had style to spare, and so does this irrepressible book.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

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    Random House Children's Books
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You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!
You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!
Jonah Winter
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