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SAY-HEY AND THE BABE by Neil Waldman Kirkus Star


Two Mostly True Baseball Stories

by Neil Waldman & illustrated by Neil Waldman

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: May 15th, 2006
ISBN: 0-8234-1857-X
Publisher: Holiday House

In 1951, it was common to see Willie Mays playing in the streets of Harlem with the neighborhood stickball teams. Pete and his friends witness Mays hit a “spaldeen” for an incredible distance of seven sewers. While searching for the ball in the sewer, Pete instead finds a ball autographed by Babe Ruth and his 1927 Yankee teammates. It is a remarkable chain of events that leads to that moment, because Babe Ruth had originally given the ball to Pete’s grandfather, and his father had been the one to lose it. Waldman deftly weaves two real events into a charming, nostalgic tale that lovingly evokes the dynamics of growing up in New York City in a time abounding in possibilities. While never allowing his imagination to be compromised, he presents a wealth of factual material about baseball, stickball and 1950s New York, in distinct, framed sidebars. Exquisitely detailed sepia pen-and-ink drawings and glowing watercolor illustrations, again a mixture of imagination and renderings of historic images, perfectly enhance the text. Absolutely marvelous. (Picture book. 8-12)