Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Before they were famous: Babe Ruth

Before they were famous: Babe Ruth

Vito Delsante
Illustrator:  Andres Vera Martinez 
Historical Fiction Graphic Novel
For ages 8 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2009   ISBN: 978-1416950714

George Ruth is always getting into trouble. He never goes to school, and his two friends, Red and Slats, encourage him to go down to the docks with them, where the boys often do things that attract the wrong kind of attention. One day, George’s actions lead to a fight breaking out in his father’s restaurant. The damage done to the establishment is considerable, and George’s parents decide that they need to send George to a special school where he will be taught a trade and where he will learn to respect others.

A month later, George arrives at St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. The school is run by catholic priests, and George is told that he will have to start in first grade. George is not at all keen to have to be in class with all the “little kids,” and he wants to leave. Luckily, the priest who interviews him knows boys very well. He takes George outside and volunteers him for a baseball game. George has never played baseball, but he quickly decides that he wants to learn how to play the game well.

George soon discovers that he has a lot to learn. Not only does he need to learn how to write and do math, but he also has to learn how to be a team player, and he finds out that his baseball team is like a “family.”

This excellent graphic novel gives young readers a picture of what George ‘Babe’ Ruth was like when he was a boy. They will see that Babe Ruth did not have an easy life, but with the help and support of friends, he found his way, and he ended up doing something that he loved to do – playing baseball.