Becoming Babe Ruth written and illustrated by Matt Tavares
*starred review in Booklist
2013 Junior Library Guild Selection
Booklist Top Ten Biographies for Youth, 2013
Booklist Top Ten Sports Books for Youth, 2013
Bank Street's Best Children's Books of the Year, 2013
2013 Oppenheim Gold Seal Award
2014 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
2014-15 Beehive Book Award Finalist (Utah Children's Choice Award)
2014-15 Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award Finalist
2014-15 South Carolina Picture Book Award Finalist
2014 Comstock Read Aloud Book Award, Honor Book
2016 Oklahoma Sequoyah Children's Book Award, Masterlist
2015-16 Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award Finalist
2017 Illinois Bluestem Readers' Choice Award Nominee
as the Babe, George Herman Ruth is just a boy who
lives in Baltimore
and gets into a lot of trouble. But when he turns
seven, his father
brings him to the gates of Saint Mary's Industrial
School for Boys, and
his life is changed forever. At Saint Mary's, he's
expected to study
hard and follow a lot of rules. But there is one
thing about Saint
Mary's: almost every day, George gets to play
baseball. Here, under the
watchful eye of Brother Matthias, George evolves as
player and as a
man, and when he sets off into the wild world of
the school, the boys, and Brother Matthias are never
far from his
heart. With vivid illustrations and clear affection
for his subject,
Matt Tavares sheds light on an icon who learned
that life is what
you make of it --and sends home a message about
honoring the place from
which you came.
"There is warmth and affection in Tavares's paintings, which generously illustrate the text, often in immersive spreads."
-The New York Times
"On the cover portrait of this picture-book biography, George Herman Ruth's eyes twinkle so realistically, one expects the famous wink. Inside, this exceptionally engaging chronicle recounts Ruth's amazing rags-to-riches story.... Well-researched, realistic illustrations, rendered in watercolor, gouache, and pencil, depict early-twentieth-century life and Major League Baseball during Ruth's era. Equally important, the art captures Ruth's irrepressible personality and joy in playing baseball. Yes, the eyes definitely twinkle."
*Booklist, starred review
"The appeal of Matt Tavares' beautifully illustrated biography is its focus on Ruth's humble origins."
"Is there a bigger baseball fan in the children's literature world than Matt Tavares?... Tavares expertly conveys Ruth's charm through his mixed-media illustrations- the boyish grin, the huge appetite (one humorous spread features Ruth in front of an outlandish spread at a restaurant), the love of the game he played so well. Tavares brings the well-paced story to a nice close as the now-world-famous Babe returns to Saint Mary's to put on an impromptu slugging exhibition for the boys, similar to the ones Brother Matthias gave that so enchanted George as a boy. It's a lovely, poignant ending to a standout sports picture book biography."
-Horn Book Magazine
"Tavares continues to prove he's a double threat, with a concise, forthright writing style and expansive, sepia-toned watercolors that bring to mind vintage photos and newsreels."