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MONTGOMERY’S VIEW

babesatchelSomething to Prove by Robert Skead, illustrated by Floyd Cooper  Carolrhoda Books, 2013

Becoming Babe Ruth  by Matt Tavares  Candlewick Press, 2013

The World Series is here!  For those who LOVE baseball – it doesn’t matter if you are a Cardinals fan or a Red Sox fan.  All that matters is that the Fall Classic is starting tonight. — Here’s to baseball!

In celebration of the start of the Series – let me tell you about a couple of terrific nonfiction picture books on baseball subjects that were published in the last year.

Something to Prove: The Great Satchel Paige vs Rookie Joe DiMaggio

In 1936 the New York Yankees wanted to test a “young, skinny prospect named Joe DiMaggio” to see if he could prove himself a major leaguer.  In order to test him, they needed him to go up against the best.  It was the era of segregation and black players were only allowed in the Negro Leagues – but one of those players was asked to pitch against the rookie. Satchel Paige was that player – he was the best pitcher in the Negro Leagues and probably the best pitcher in baseball.  This picture book tells the story of the day the Satchel Paige All-Stars played an exhibition game against Dick Bartell’s All-Stars (with Joe DiMaggio).

The illustrations are brown and grainy – reminiscent of 1930′s films.  Once the game starts you can almost hear the crackle of the old radio and the play-by-play announcer recounting what is unfolding in front of him for listeners everywhere.  The game went to extra innings and both players proved their talents.  The game’s tension is evoked – and the issue of race and injustice is portrayed.

Becoming Babe Ruth

This is a picture book biography of George Herman Ruth – the kid born in Baltimore that was always in trouble from a very young age.  When he was seven, his parents sent him to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys.  Although difficult being removed from his family, the school remained a force in his life throughout his career.  It was at the school that George met Brother Matthias who awed all the boys with his hitting prowess.  Brother Matthias taught George the fine art of baseball – and sharpened the boy’s facility at the many aspects of the game. At 19 Ruth was signed by the minor-league Baltimore Orioles and soon earned his nickname as one of the new babes on the team.  His rise to stardom was swift – but he never forgot Brother Matthias and St. Mary’s.  He returned for games – and when the school burned down Ruth was there to lend support and financial aid.

Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, was a larger than life celebrity before the television.  Stories of the Babe and his adventures and excesses (and they were many) were told in newspapers and by the radio baseball announcers.  This picture biography looks at Ruth’s life in baseball – and the school that remained a force in his life.  The illustrations are full of activity – and there are many portraits of George Herman Ruth that show a twinkle in the eye, a joyful soul and a kid who didn’t like rules.  The book is a tribute to a legend in the sport of baseball.

The book is written and illustrated by Maine’s own Matt Tavares.

Enjoy these books — and enjoy a great Fall Classic!

 ~Mary

posted: , by Mary Peverada
tags: Montgomery's View | Recommended Reads | Kids & Families
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