Becoming Babe Ruth
Written and illustrated by Matt Tavares
Very few Americans, even those not interested in sports, have never heard of Babe Ruth. So what makes this volume unique and valuable? The story focuses on Ruth’s early life and how he became the great baseball player rather than on his stats and behavior as a grown man. The phenomenal illustrations show not only the illustrator’s passion for baseball and for Ruth, but they also show Ruth’s passion for everything, including kids and eating. Ruth was sent to Saint Mary’s Industrial School for Boys in Baltimore when he was seven. He was considered incorrigible. He learned to pitch and bat at the school and he learned to work hard to attain his goals. Even after he was no longer an inmate, Ruth did a lot to help the boys at Saint Mary’s. In 1920, the school’s band traveled with the team. The reader gets a glimpse of life in the early twentieth century as well. The street and game scenes are particularly vivid and also show the physical attributes in the cities he played for.
Because of the enthusiasm shown, third grade readers will be drawn into the tale of Ruth’s young life on the street and in Saint Mary’s. This book has already appeared on several reading lists, including receiving a Booklist starred review. The publisher’s website, www.candlewick.com, contains a lot of information about the author and about the book itself. As part of their “We Believe in Picture Books” campaign, the publisher is also posting videos by readers on www.readingstartshere.com.