Flamboyant and amazingly talented, the Sultan of Swat receives due appreciation here.

READ REVIEW

BECOMING BABE RUTH

An homage to the Bambino introduces a new audience to this great legend of baseball.

Babe Ruth’s baseball skills changed the game forever, and his story reads like a movie script. Seven-year-old George, not quite an orphan, is placed by his father in the St. Mary’s Industrial School because he is unmanageable and incorrigible. The regimented life there is beneficial if not so much to George’s liking, but Brother Matthias teaches him baseball and hones his considerable skills. At 19, he is signed by the minor league Baltimore Orioles, where he is renamed Babe for his wide-eyed, enthusiastic embrace of his new life. From Baltimore to Boston to the New York Yankees, in a time before television and Facebook, he becomes a celebrity of monumental proportions. Tavares is careful to include all the relevant information, focusing on Ruth’s exploits on the field as well as his charitable nature—he helps St. Mary’s rebuild after a devastating fire—while presenting his fast and furious lifestyle as part of his charm and appeal. Watercolor, gouache and pencil illustrations in yellows, greens and shades of amber against bright blue or shining white backgrounds depict a glowing Ruth glorying in his accomplishments. Tavares allows young readers to view Ruth with just the right amount of hero worship and awe.

Flamboyant and amazingly talented, the Sultan of Swat receives due appreciation here. (author’s note, statistics chart, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5646-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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There's a need for a good book for kids about Ansel Adams—and this one misses the mark.

ANTSY ANSEL

ANSEL ADAMS, A LIFE IN NATURE

This distillation of the photographer’s life and achievements focuses on his “antsy” youth and early influences.

A distracted, sickly student, Ansel reveled in nature along the beaches near his San Francisco home. He blossomed after his prescient father withdrew him from formal schooling, enabling home tutoring and such experiences as a season ticket to San Francisco’s 1915 world’s fair. Effectively employing onomatopoeia, Jenson-Elliott reveals 14-year-old Ansel’s pivotal experience at Yosemite. On a family trip, “Ansel got his first glimpse of Yosemite Valley—the ripple-rush-ROAR! of water and light! Light! Light! It was love at first sight.” In Yosemite, his parents gave him his first camera, and “he was off— Run-leap-scramble—SNAP!…Ansel’s photos became a / journal of everything he saw.” The final five double-page spreads compress 60-plus years: photography expeditions in Yosemite, marriage to Virginia Best, Adams’ government-commissioned work documenting the national parks, and the enduring importance of his photographic record of the American wild lands. Hale’s collages blend traditional and digital layering and include cropped photographic images such as Adams’ childhood home and wood-paneled station wagon. Her stylized depiction of Yosemite’s Half Dome and decision to render several iconic photographs as painterly thumbnails display a jarring disregard for Adams’ lifelong absorption with technical and visual precision.

There's a need for a good book for kids about Ansel Adams—and this one misses the mark. (biographical note, photographs with note, bibliography of adult resources, websites) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-082-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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