Bud Not Buddy Author:Christopher Paul Curtis Ten-year-old Bud, a motherless boy living in Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression, escapes a bad foster home and sets out in search of the man he believes to be his father--the renowned band leader, H.E. Calloway of Grand Rapids.
There are some really good, in-depth reviews by fellow members so I'll be brief about the summary and share more why I enjoyed the story. 10 year-old, Bud is orphaned at six. We're not sure how his mother died, but according to Bud it was sudden and without pain. Bud and his mother were very close. She read to him and was very attentive to her son. She did her best to prepare Bud for the world, but what she wouldn't share was who his father was. She did leave clues and after being mistreated by his last foster family, Bud takes off to find his dad.
What I like about Curtis' work is his ability to make history accessible through personal stories of very young characters. While the story was set in the Great Depression, I don't think Curtis' primary goal was to teach history. Rather, I think his aim was to illustrate the connection between history at-large and our personal histories. It's through relationships that history becomes relevant in Curtis' work.
I think Curtis is adept at creating authentic voice for his young characters. Bud speaks with some distinct grammar errors that a boy his age would make. His focus on his immediate needs and his belief that he can do something like find his father with little information and very limited resources speaks to the resiliency and naviete of youth. The author's sense of humor combined with the perceptions of the world as seen through the experience of the young render his stories exceedingly accessible and memorable.
My daughter and niece both read the book and neither were too articulate about the details, but they got the gist of what was going on, and I think they learned something. What's interesting to me are the differences in perception of the student and adult readers of the same book. They both told me enough that I wanted to read it, and they both didn't provide the kind of details that made me laugh as an adult reading a young boy's account of his adventure. I think adults perceive nuances students miss or overlook, but both audiences find something enjoyable in Curtis' work. This is my second novel by the author and I look forward to reading more by him
This book has won the "Coretta Scott King Award", and it certainly deserves it as well as many others. This story would make a wonderful T.V. play or movie. I got the book thinking it would be something my elementary aged grandkids could read. But I decided to read it myself first. That's when I discovered that the material is probably better suited to older readers. I just fell in love with the character, "Bud, not Buddy". He's such a little trooper and so brave in the face of all he has to confront in life. And through it all he's so funny with his fear of closet monsters and rules to live by. It's an easy read and it won't be time wasted.
Newbery Medal winner 2000.
"It's funny how ideas are, in a lot of ways they're just like seeds. Both of them start real, real small and then... woop, zoop, sloop... before you can say Jack Robinson, they've gone and grown a lot bigger than you ever thought they could." So figures scrappy 10-year-old philosopher Bud--"not Buddy"--Caldwell, an orphan on the run from abusive foster homes and Hoovervilles in 1930s Michigan. And the idea that's planted itself in his head is that Herman E. Calloway, standup-bass player for the Dusky Devastators of the Depression, is his father.
Guided only by a flier for one of Calloway's shows--a small, blue poster that had mysteriously upset his mother shortly before she died--Bud sets off to track down his supposed dad, a man he's never laid eyes on. And, being 10, Bud-not-Buddy gets into all sorts of trouble along the way, barely escaping a monster-infested woodshed, stealing a vampire's car, and even getting tricked into "busting slob with a real live girl." Christopher Paul Curtis, author of The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963, once again exhibits his skill for capturing the language and feel of an era and creates an authentic, touching, often hilarious voice in little Bud. (Ages 8 to 12)
I loved this book! I am a teacher and I assigned it to my students to read for summer reading. It's a great story and it also discusses racial inequalities in the south of the past. I think kids of grades 6-8 would enjoy this book.