The Babe & I
|Author:||David A. Adler, Terry Widener|
It’s 1932 and hard times are everywhere. But life isn’t all bad. America still loves baseball, and Babe Ruth is the star of the game. And two boys are about to discover that with some creativity, hard work, and a little help from the Babe himself, they can do their part to help out their own team!
While helping his family make ends meet during the Depression by selling newspapers, a boy meets Babe Ruth.
“For my birthday I was hoping my parents would give me a bicycle. They only gave me a dime.”
So begins David Adler’s inspired tale of the challenges and magic — yes, magic — of a depression-era childhood spent in the Bronx, New York. Disappointed, but not surprised by his present, the young narrator in The Babe & I spends his birthday afternoon wandering neighborhood streets with his best friend Jacob, discussing — as always — the New York Yankees and the world’s greatest baseball player, Babe Ruth.
The boys may have little in the way of monetary goods, but they do live within walking distance of Yankee stadium. They get a special lift from their proximity to this golden team of graced athletes, even if they can never go inside the gate. On this day, however, the stakes are raised significantly when the narrator discovers a difficult, saddening secret about his father. In response, he decides to join Jacob and become a newspaper boy — a decision that helps his family through these tough years and leads the narrator into the best, most unbelievable encounter of his life — better than any bike or birthday or anything.
Adler’s honest, vivid reflection of 1930s life is perfectly complemented by Terry Widener’s evocative, earth-toned illustrations. Reminiscent of WPA murals, Widener’s images help Adler transport the reader to another time and place in a symbiotic pairing that makes this tender book a true work of art. (Ages 5 and older) —Jean Lenihan