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Becoming Babe Ruth (Candlewick Biographies)

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  300 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
Matt Tavares’s striking homage to one of baseball’s legends offers a rare view into Babe Ruth’s formative years in "the House that built Ruth."

Before he is known 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
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Candlewick Press
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Childrens NonFiction 2013
15th out of 119 books — 40 voters
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2017 Bluestem Award Master Lister
2nd out of 20 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

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This book is for the Haidyn to read independently. This is a primary book.

I chose this book for Haidyn because he marked he liked biographies. This is the biography of Babe Ruth. He marked the interest inventory he would like to know more about sports and history.

George Herman (Babe) Ruth is one of the most famous baseball player of all time. How did a boy who would skip school and throw tomatoes at passing wagons become a famous baseball player? But where did he come from? How did he become a f
Gary Anderson
Apr 14, 2015 Gary Anderson rated it it was amazing
By focusing on Babe Ruth's earliest years, Matt Tavares is able to portray the human being behind the myth and avoid getting into Ruth's bad behavior in his prodigious Yankee years. I admire the body of work Tavares is creating to enhance young baseball fans' understanding of the game's history.
Katelyn Kindt
Dec 14, 2014 Katelyn Kindt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: educ-422
When it comes to sports, especially baseball, I'm a huge fan! I find the history of it to be fascinating, like when the women played during the war, and how these men set incredible records around this all American sport. My father and brother were always huge baseball fans, collecting books and books of baseball cards, umping games, and playing themselves. I read this book about Babe Ruth that was incredible. Who would have known were he came from or what he went through to get to his height of ...more
Bridget Allebach
Title: Becoming Babe Ruth
Author: Matt Tavares
Genre: K-2 Biography
Theme(s): Hard Work, Perseverance
Opening line/sentence: “George Ruth lives with his parents with his baby sister in a tiny apartment above a saloon.”
Brief Book Summary: Introducing George, or more commonly known, Babe, the boy who lives in Baltimore and has a bit of trouble following directions. As he grows at his new school, playing baseball everyday, he learns discipline and determination. Once he makes it to the big-leagues he
Ivy Wesner
Tavares, Matt. Becoming Babe Ruth. Scholastic, 2013. 40 p. Gr. K-3.
Babe Ruth was born George Ruth, and lived with his parents and little sister in a tiny apartment in Baltimore, Maryland. George was not a child who liked to follow the rules. He often skipped school, stole tomatoes from the vegetable stand to throw at passing wagons, and snuck into saloons to steal money from the registers. When George turned seven, his parents decided that George needed to change. George was sent to Saint Mary’s
Nov 09, 2014 Heidi rated it it was amazing
Babe Ruth was known for a lot of things, but baseball was his greatest passion. In this book, Tavares takes the reader on the journey as George Herman Ruth develops this initial passion into a career and becomes a baseball legend. A mischief maker from the time he was little, his desperate parents finally put him into Saint Mary's Industrial School for Boys. George hated the rules, the work, and going to class. The only thing he didn't hate was the opportunity to play baseball almost every day. ...more
May 15, 2014 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares is a nominee for the 2014-15 South Carolina Picture Book Award.

As a lifelong baseball fan, I've always been fascinated with Babe Ruth (even if he did play for the Red Sox and the Yankees). I haven't, however, really thought about what made Babe Ruth into the greatest baseball player who ever lived. At least, not until now. Matt Tavares' wonderful picture book, Becoming Babe Ruth, takes a look at what turned a boy into a legend.

George Herman Ruth definitely didn
I learned some very interesting things about the Babe from this terrific picture book by Matt Tavares. I learned he grew up in parochial school because of his bad behavior at a very young age, and how that school remained very special to him throughout his life. Who taught him to play ball so well? That was my favorite fun fact from the book, but I'm not going to ruin the surprise here. Read this little book for yourself!

2016 Oklahoma Sequoyah Children's Book Master List
Apr 29, 2016 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Becoming Babe is a story about one of the most famous baseball players of all time. It gives a chronology of his life and accomplishments as well as shows his involvement with the school that he grew up into and his mentors that were affiliated. George Herman Ruth was a troubled boy that needed to be sent to reform school at a very young age. The school was like a prison to the boys that went there, although Ruth found solace in the baseball field and a Catholic Brother named Matthias who traine ...more
Aug 23, 2014 Kermit rated it really liked it
4.1 stars

The book should get 5 stars just for the cover illustration. Babe Ruth looks so happy and charming and childlike in that picture. I enjoyed learning about his life. It was so interesting that I read more information online about George Herman Ruth's life, and, of course, his life was much more complicated than described in this biography for children.

Baseball certainly changed the life of this troubled young man. He continued to have problems throughout his life----but I like the messa
Ken Martin
Nov 04, 2014 Ken Martin rated it it was amazing
Becoming Babe Ruth was a magnificent biography for younger students. Most children know he was a famous baseball player; however, this book talks about how he was an orphan and the place he grew up St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys. Students that do not even like sports will enjoy this book. This book would be great in the classroom if you happen to have a child that was in a similar situation. The book would also be great just to show you have to really work hard and try hard to do what you ...more
Another wonderful baseball story from Matt Tavares! I thought I knew a lot about Babe Ruth, but Tavares' focus in this book is a bit different. He chose to showcase George Ruth's time at St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, where his parents sent him at age 7 when he was too much trouble to handle. It was there, under the guidance of Brother Matthias that he learned to love the game of baseball and develop the skills that made him an icon. After making it in the big leagues, he gave back to th ...more
Full review at:

My Review: Matt Tavares's four superbly crafted biographies take a look at the life of each man, but as more than a baseball player. We learn about their childhoods, where they came from, and their dreams and hopes. Each book includes aspects of the history surrounding them including the Depression, wars, and racism. Additionally, these books are crafted beautiful with lyrically written prose. These books are must reads for lovers of baseb
May 27, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it

Becoming Babe Ruth written and illustrated by Matt Tavares and published by Candlewick, 2013.

Tomato-stealer, inmate, rule-breaker—not necessarily words that immediately come to mind when we think of Babe Ruth. Indeed, Babe Ruth's meteoric rise in baseball came from humble beginnings. In the first part of the 20th century, Babe was indeed a troublemaker and his parents were at their wits' ends. Although not truly an orphan, Babe found himself in a children'
Bridget Cabbiness
"Becoming Babe Ruth" by Matt Tavares is a biography for children in the primary age group, ages five to eight. The story begins with George Ruth as a young boy who likes to skip school and cause trouble and watches him grow into the famous Babe Ruth. I enjoyed this book because it taught me a few things about Babe Ruth that I didn’t even know, but I found it a little slow and hard to get through. If it was hard for me to get through I feel like children in the five to eight age group will have s ...more
Nov 13, 2014 Jenny rated it really liked it
I am not a baseball fan. So while I, of course, know of Babe Ruth, I didn't know much about his life. I found it fascinating learning about him growing up in Saint Mary's Industrial School for Boys. (He was sent there by his family due to his poor behavior.). This home/school is where he learned to play baseball, thanks to Brother Matthias. My children and I found the book very interesting...captured all of our attention and held it throughout. And I loved the illustrations.
Oak Lawn Public Library - Youth Services
Picture Book

Summary: A wonderful picture book about the life of Babe Ruth, from his childhood until the end of his baseball career. Gives descriptive details on how how his life was and beautiful drawings accompany each page.

Recommendation: A great biography for early readers. They will be able to understand the information if the parents read the book with them. The book ends with hitting stats for his career.

Review by Jen T.
May 21, 2016 Jen rated it really liked it
Shelves: bluestem-2017
Picture Book

Summary: A wonderful picture book about the life of Babe Ruth, from his childhood until the end of his baseball career. Gives descriptive details on how how his life was and beautiful drawings accompany each page.

Recommendation: A great biography for early readers. They will be able to understand the information if the parents read the book with them. The book ends with hitting stats for his career.

Review by Jen T.
Full color illustrations on each page add to this 40 page biography about baseball great Babe Ruth. Lots of details about his childhood and how his father left him at a boys school when he was only 7 years old. While there, he was heavily influenced by a baseball playing monk and even when he made it to the big leagues, he never forgot where he came from.
Also included: author's note, bibliography, Babe Ruth's stats, and an index.
Because he was incorrigible as a child, George Ruth, the man who would grow up to become Babe Ruth, was placed in a boys' school. There, the man who would become a mighty slugger for the New York Yankees learned to follow rules and fell in love with baseball. What's particularly intriguing about Babe's story is how he never forgot the school that was so formative in his life or Brother Matthias who refined Ruth's baseball skills during his youth. The text and watercolor, gouache, and pencil illu ...more
Apr 07, 2016 Kaye rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies
Have students create a timeline of Babe Ruth's life and on for their own life. Then they can compare and contrast their life to Babe's.
Writing prompt - write about what you would do if you didn't have a T.V. to watch or any electronic devices to use or what do you want to do when you grow up?
Could also use to teach a math lesson using his baseball stats to figure out mean, median and mode.
This was a very well constructed, kid-friendly biography of Babe Ruth at the upper end of easy reading, lower end of chapter books. In terms of writing, it reminded me of Lady Liberty: A Biography. Subject-matter and reading-level wise, it reminded me of the Sports Illustrated Kids: Hockey Superstars series. Either way, lots of appeal here for a lot of different kids.
I knew nothing about Babe Ruth's early life before reading this book. I had no idea that his background was what it was, but it humanized him for me. I found it interesting and not too bogged down in fact. Just a simple story of someone well known. Wish I knew better about baseball so that I could be properly impressed by the included stats.

2014-2015 Beehive nominee
Brenda Kahn
Apr 15, 2013 Brenda Kahn rated it really liked it
Grades 1 - 4

Tavares hits another one out of the park, this time he sends us back in time to 1902, when George Herman Ruth, age 7 is about to be turned over to Saint Mary's School for Boys because he's "incorrigible." Told in the present tense, in spare short lines that look like verse, the reader learns a bit about the life of 800 boys who need structure and rules. The highlight of George's day is at the end of it, when he gets to play baseball and watch Brother Mathias slug baseballs over the t
May 14, 2016 Princolitas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me gustaron mucho las ilustraciones y definitivamente la historia de Babe Ruth es fascinante, este es un libro para niños que sin duda les gustará, sin embargo quiero saber y leer más sobre su vida, el mejor jugador de béisbol de todos los tiempos. Me he dado cuenta que me encanta leer non-ficción últimamente.
Jan 03, 2016 Becky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pb-bio, read-in-2013
This is the story of who Babe Ruth was before he became a famous baseball player. When the misbehaving George Ruth was seven years old, his parents took him to the St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys. There George lived by an incredibly strict schedule and set of rules. Every day George goes to class, learns how to be a tailor in the school shop, does his chores, and eats the same things, but when everything is done, George gets to play baseball. Brother Matthias teaches George what he knows, ...more
This is a fun biography about the life of famous baseball player Babe Ruth. This book would also be a good history lesson for my first grade students. This book is acceptable for any grade level, however, I chose to analyze it’s accuracy for first grade students because this is the grade level of my current placement. This book is also good for science in that one can use it to further explore the use of force and motion, when reading about Babe’s hitting the ball with a baseball bat. This is a ...more
Lindsaye Williamson Childs
Babe Ruth is a classic story. I think this book puts a modern spin to the story. Readers will be able to connect with the story and character. They will also be able to learn history as well. The photographs in the book are awesome. The images look as if they are real pictures.
Sep 16, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
Reform school kid George Ruth learns to play ball from Brother Matthias. His talent wins him a future in baseball. But when the St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys burns down, Babe Ruth really steps up to the plate.
Tracy Holland
Mar 05, 2016 Tracy Holland rated it it was amazing
Beautifully illustrated picture book about one of the most amazing baseball icons. A great story about his youth, his path to major league baseball, his charitable personality and his returning to his roots.
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Matt Tavares is the award-winning author-illustrator of Henry Aaron's Dream, Zachary’s Ball, Oliver ’s Game, and Mudball, and the illustrator of several other books, including ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, or an Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas; Jack and the Beanstalk; Doreen Rappaport’s Lady Liberty: A Biography; and Kristin Kladstrup’s The Gingerbread Pirates, He lives in Maine with his ...more
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