From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 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 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hall of Fame centerfielder Willie Mays could do everything possible on a baseball field, and he did it all with a playground exuberance that is almost unimaginable in the modern era, when ballplayers discuss stock portfolios between innings. Mandel's sing-along text, using Mays' nickname, the Say Hey Kid, as the basis for its refrain, and Tate's computer-generated art effectively capture Mays' enthusiasm and irrepressible style. The text can't stand alone as a biography, but it does provide the basics about Mays' life: born in Alabama in 1931, he was discovered playing in the Negro Leagues and quickly established himself as a superstar in 1950s New York--often considered baseball's golden age. Tate's sharp-edged pictures boast vivid, sparkling colors and a vibrant immediacy, ideal for the subject, but the likeness of Mays is disconcertingly off the mark, as is the fact that he appears to be throwing left-handed in the re-creation of his famous catch and throw in the 1954 World Series. Nostalgic parents will overlook these flaws, however, in their eagerness to sing Say Hey Willie's song to their children. Bill Ott
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.