Review: Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares

becoming babe ruth

Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares

This biographical picture book takes a look at Babe Ruth’s formative years.  It is the story of a small boy named George Herman Ruth who gets into lots of trouble, so much that his father puts him into Saint Mary’s Industrial School for Boys.  There he has to follow the rules and work hard.  Happily, there is also baseball and George gets to play it almost every day.  Best of all, there is Brother Matthias who serves as an inspiration and mentor for George’s baseball game and life.  As George gets better and better, he is finally whisked into the world of major league baseball, but he never forgot the school and the man who got him there. 

Tavares writes in such an engaging way that the pages fly by.  The sudden sternness of the school is told in short, abrupt sentences that enforce the martial feel of the establishment.  That contrasts directly with the long sentences that talk about the beauty of baseball.  Readers can almost feel themselves taking a big gulp of freedom on those pages. 

The joy Tavares feels about his subject is also palpable.  From eating ice cream with the boys from the school, to tipping his hat to them as he walks on the field, to the pleasure of hitting a ball, all are captured with a fondness and pleasure in the paintings that are the illustrations in the book. 

This is a baseball biography that children will find accessible and fascinating.  Play ball!  Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from library copy.

This Week’s Tweets and Pins

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts these last two weeks that you might find interesting:


National Young Readers' Week, 1953. via words and eggs Illustration by Jan Balet

The Best Books For Kids Age 9-14? You Tell Us : NPR

Kids’ Books Stay Stubbornly White, Even as Demographics Shift – Atlanta Black Star #kidlit

Mark Lowery’s top 10 embarrassing moments in children’s books | Children’s books |

Should adults read children’s books? #kidlit


Digital ‘Library For All’ Brings Books to Developing World

Why Genre Rules e-Books, and What the Big Publishers Are Doing About It #ebooks #publishers


3M SelfCheck, NoveList Partner on Reader Recommendation #libraries

ALA to senate: “protect privacy and civil liberties” – District Dispatch #libraries #privacy


Have You Been Avoiding LinkedIn Like The Plague? Here Is How To Get Started — socialmouths

HootSuite launches an RSS reader, Syndicator, for social media managers | VentureBeat

How Women & Men Use Social Media Differently – Business 2 Community

Stephen King


10 Insane Facts About Marvel Comics – Listverse

10 Things to Know About Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl | Mental Floss

‘Divergent’ author Veronica Roth to release e-stories | Shelf Life | #yalit