Friday, June 6, 2008

Book Review: Bud, Not Buddy

Reading Level: Ages 9 - 12
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press (2000)
Cover Design: Trish P. Watts
ISBN-10: 0553494104
ISBN - 13: 978-0553494105

It’s 1936 during the Great Depression and ten year old Bud, Not Buddy Caldwell is on the lam from an abusive foster home and an orphanage in Flint Michigan. Bud’s mother died when he was six and now four years later he sets out to find his supposed father. The only clue Bud has is a blue flyer with a picture of legendary jazz musician Herman E. Calloway, a stand up-bass player for the Dusky Devastators of the Depression.

Bud reasons in his ten-year-old philosophers' head that this must be his father because Bud remembers the angry look his mother got every time she looked at his picture.

Bud is very determined to get to Grand Rapids and as he sets out on foot he escapes a monster infested tool shed, escapes a police raid, steals a vampire’s car and even experiences his first kiss. Bud’s responses to his situation are very believable from his youthful point of view. In order to survive after his mother died, Bud made up a set of survival tactics called "Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar out of Yourself”.

This book has a Forest Gump type of humor. On explaining what it feels like being six and losing teeth Bud says

“Six is a bad time too ‘cause that’s when some real scary things start happening to your body, it’s around then that your teeth start coming a-loose in your mouth. …Unless you’re as stupid as a lamppost you’ve got to wonder what’s coming off next, your arm? Your leg? Your neck?”

"Bud, Not Buddy” was the first book to be awarded the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Medal in the same year 2000.

The author, Christopher Paul Curtis was born in Flint, Michigan and worked on the Ford assembly line and went to college at night and wrote in his spare time. Many of his characters are based on real people from his life which gives this tale a warmth and sweetness and a little family folklore sprinkled through out.

Write it down,

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