One thing I never find enough of is 'sport' fiction. Middle graders...at least, here in our small town...check out these more often than any other types of stories (or so I'm told). I accidentally came across this series, which takes historic figures and...well...definitely takes them onto adventures they never faced. But maybe, they could have? These are funny, are packed with illustrations, and offer historical content. Somewhat.
The books in the series are not all sports orientated but hit upon a large variety of historic personalities. I recommend that you take a glance at what's available, too.
Anyway, off to today's review...
THE LIEOGRAPHY OF BABE RUTH
The Absolutely Untrue, Totally Made Up, 100% Fake Life story of Baseball's Greatest Slugger
by Alan Katz
Illustrated by Tracy Hill
Middle Grade Humor
ages 8 to 12
Babe Ruth, incredible ballplayer. You might know that he was widely considered baseball’s greatest hitter. But what about his feat of pitching to himself and blasting 25 straight home runs? Or his knack for removing kids’ spleens and kidneys despite not having any medical training? You’re about to be treated to the Lieographical aspects of Babe Ruth’s life, in this funny, lighthearted, “all that didn’t happen” take on this larger than life man.
The book ends with a short—but true—account of Babe’s life—just enough to encourage kids to find out more on this important historical figure. But even if readers have already learned about the Babe, the wacky stories in this tall-tales book will be even more enjoyable.
Seriousness soars out of the park as this book dives into obvious and hilarious tales, which never could have happened.
If you're looking for a true account of Babe Ruth's life, this is not the book to grab up. It does base itself a little bit on this incredible baseball player's experiences but very, very, very loosely. From the historical side, I like it simply because it does raise awareness of Babe Ruth's existence and let's readers, at least, know a bit of very general information about him (what he did and who he was in an extremely broad sense). At the end of the book, there are a few pages which seriously summarize his life and allow readers to discover who he really was and what he accomplished.
The tales are humorous and drag in even quirky humor. For example, Babe Ruth sends a foul ball into the stands and accidentally breaks a girl's iPhone...which he feels very bad about sense iPhones are rare because they don't exist yet. Of course, his bat is broke and he needs to hit the next home run with his arm. In other words, these stories are goofy and silly and simply ridiculous.
Another plus point is found in the plentiful illustrations. I'm always a fan of these in middle grade books, and this one holds more than a couple. It allows readers to get a better impression of what's going on, adds humor, and even builds a picture of Babe Ruth in their minds. Plus, it breaks up the flow. At 64-pages, this is one that even reluctant readers aren't going to be scared to pick up, and the illustrations make this one even more attractive.
If I can criticize anything, it's that I'm not sure middle graders will find this one quite as funny as adults will...unless they happen to be baseball and/or Babe Ruth fans. Some of the humor might not hit quite right for the younger age group. Still, I recommend this one, especially to reluctant reading sport fans, and have no doubt that it will draw more than a few snorts and giggles.