Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Home Run: The story of Babe Ruth

Home Run: The story of Babe Ruth

Robert Burleigh
Illustrator:  Mike Wimmer 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 and up
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1998   ISBN: 0152045996

There was a time when the man who came to be called "The Babe" was just a boy who loved baseball, but that same boy had something that other boys did not have; he had what would be called the "pretty" swing. It was this swing that would rocket George Herman Ruth from obscurity and into the limelight to become the hero called "Babe Ruth" and one of the greatest batters of all time.

With rocking, rhythmical text the author tells us the story of how Babe Ruth played baseball. We get a real sense of movement, of how the Babe put all of himself into his swing so that even his "pop-ups rise higher than anyone else's." We see and feel how Babe Ruth became one with the ball and the bat, how he loved the fans and they loved him, how he sensed everything that was going on around him in the ball park as he played.

The author uses a lot of Babe Ruth's own words throughout the book which brings us close to the mind and heart of the great ball player. By using quotes the author shows us too what the Babe's thought processes were when it came to the game that he loved so much and played so well.

What is truly different and unique about this book is that on every text page there is picture of what looks like the back of a baseball card. On the card the reader will find all sorts of information about Babe Ruth and his life in the baseball world. Among other things we can read about how he got his name, what his personal records were, and how he had his own baseball philosophy. This makes this book suitable for readers of many ages. For younger readers the main text on its own will suffice. For older readers looking for more information there is the text on the cards to read.

Mike Wimmer's oil paintings bring us up close to the action on the field so that we can see the faces of the players, the fans, and all aspects of play, some of which are quite surprising. We feel as if we are in the game, a part of it body and soul, just as the Babe was.

All in all this is a book that will delight baseball fans of all ages. It truly takes one into the game and brings one of the greatest heroes of the game to life in glowing color.