Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bud, Not Buddy

1. Bibliography: Curtis, Christopher P (1999). Bud, Not Buddy. New York, NY: Random House Children's Books.

2. Genre and Awards:

Young Adult/ Historical Fiction

Newberry Award 2000

Coretta Scott King Award 2000

3. Synopsis:

Bud, not Buddy, Caldwell is an orphan with unfortunate luck. Bud has a suitcase he carries around filled with secret things that his mother left him. After being placed in a terrible "home," he sets out on an adventure to find his father, armed only with his suitcase, his wits, and his rules for life--Bud Caldwell’s Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself.

4. Characters:
Bud, not Buddy, Caldwell is the main character. He is an orphan during the Great Depression. He has many harrowing experiences and is a tenacious ten-year old. Through the novel, he encounters many people on his journey. Although other characters make only brief appearances, they are important in propelling the narrative forward. He encounters a community in a “Hooverville” who help Bud on his way (and he even has his first kiss.) In the ending, Bud encounters a group of musicians, Herman E. Calloway and the Dusky Devastators, who are an endearing group of rag-tag blues musicians who really seem to care about Bud and are determined to help Bud find his place in the world.

5. Plot:
Bud Caldwell is in an orphanage at the beginning, but he is quickly sent to a “home” for the summer. His experience is not a very good one, and he sets out to travel from Flint, Michigan to Grand Rapids to find his “father.” Through is journey, he faces hunger, racism and the ravages of the Great Depression that affected the nation. This book has many unexpected twists that will have young readers cheering and on the edge of their seats.

6. Needs of adolescents:
Bud, Not Buddy has many historical references, including a reference to Hoovervilles and blues music. Bud also deals with abuse and the need to fit in. While it does not directly deal with segregation, the book has many insights into what the world was like during segregation, and would be a great jumping off point for classroom discussion about race.

7. Possible Classroom Uses:

This book would be great as a read-aloud, small group assignment, class novel or individual suggestion. It ties nicely with Maniac Magee, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry or other adolescent novels dealing with this time in history, isolation, poverty, etc.

8. Appropriate Age Range

Bud, Not Buddy would be great for middle or junior high students.


9. Personal Reactions:
My son and his friends did not want to read this book. However, when I finally convinced them to start it, they loved it. I was impressed with the flawless incorporation of history and fiction that Christopher Paul Curtis seems to accomplish effortlessly. Although it seemed a little too neat in the end, middle school kids and junior high kids who are dealing with emerging ideas about race and class will connect with and be moved by Bud, Not Buddy.

1 comment:

bookworm said...

This book sounds very interesting. I love that it is historical fiction and about music. I am very encouraged to read it. Even though you say it has a squeaky clean ending it seems like it could be a great way to begin conversations about more serious issues with students at a younger age. Hopefully, it could also help them make better choices when confronted with racial issues later on in life. I am definitely putting this one on my list. Thanks, Katherine