Review posted October 28, 2013.
Candlewick Press, 2013. 40 pages.
Who knew Babe Ruth went to reform school at age 7? Becoming Babe Ruth looks at George Ruth’s childhood and how even he had to work at becoming a great baseball player.
The book focuses on his years at St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, where he played baseball and learned from Brother Matthias. Years later, when he was famous, he still had a special relationship with the school and helped them raise money to rebuild after a fire. The band from the school got to go on the road with the New York Yankees for the last two weeks of the 1920 baseball season, special guests of Babe Ruth.
This is also a beautiful picture book, with extra large pictures of a larger-than-life baseball player. I like the focus on a boy down on his luck who works hard and makes it big, but still remembers where he came from.
The author says in a note at the end, “Becoming the king of baseball took countless hours of practice and plenty of support and guidance from his school and from his teacher and mentor, Brother Matthias. And even at the height of his fame, he remained eternally grateful to those who helped him become Babe Ruth.”