Bud, Not Buddy
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Curtis, C. P. (2000). Bud, not Buddy. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc., by arrangement with Delacort Press.
The time period is the Great Depression and Bud’s life has been really tough since his mom died when he was six years old. At age ten, he is sent to yet another foster home. The Amoses do not treat him kindly and he runs away. This is just the beginning of his adventures. While homeless, he decides to search for the man he believes to be his father, Herman E. Calloway. This journey includes hopping a train, staying in a tent city, waiting in food lines, and walking a deserted highway in the middle of the night.
He finally ends up in Grand Rapids meeting Herman Calloway. Both of them are puzzled and find it hard to believe they could be father and son. Herman’s band takes care of Bud any ways and Bud enjoys the company and the food. Before long the pieces of the puzzle fall into place and they discover that Bud is actually Herman’s grandson. Herman mourns the loss of his daughter and then he and the band accept Bud into the family with open arms.
I initially chose to read this book because I remembered that me son enjoyed it during fifth grade. Bud, not Buddy turned out to be my favorite book of the semester and I featured it in a book trailer. Bud is such an easy character to relate to and feel sympathy for. Because it is historical fiction, I felt that I saw the Great Depression through different eyes. The ending was uplifting and hopeful and I feel like I could recommend this book to anyone.
Bud, 10, is on the run from the orphanage and from yet another mean foster family. His mother died when he was 6, and he wants to find his father. Set in Michigan during the Great Depression, this is an Oliver Twist kind of foundling story, but it’s told with affectionate comedy, like the first part of Curtis’ The Watsons Go to Birmingham (1995). On his journey, Bud finds danger and violence (most of it treated as farce), but more often, he finds kindness–in the food line, in the library, in the Hooverville squatter camp, on the road–until he discovers who he is and where he belongs. Told in the boy’s naive, desperate voice, with lots of examples of his survival tactics (“Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar out of Yourself”), this will make a great read-aloud. Curtis says in an afterword that some of the characters are based on real people, including his own grandfathers, so it’s not surprising that the rich blend of tall tale, slapstick, sorrow, and sweetness has the wry, teasing warmth of family folklore. Category: Middle Readers. 1999, Delacorte, $15.95. Gr. 4-6.
Rochman, H. (1999, September 1). [Review of the book Bud, not Buddy, by C. P. Curtis]. Booklist 96(1). Retrieved from http://booklistonline.com/
It has really been hard for Bud since his Mama died–one foster home after another. When he runs away from a family that really mistreats him, all he knows is that his long lost father must be the famed jazz musician Herman E. Calloway. Otherwise, why would his Mama have kept the posters? Good luck and friendly folk help Bud reach Mr. Calloway, but his supposed daddy is none too welcoming. The band members and vocalist are just the opposite. Bud is a spunky and likable kid, and this book has a fairy tale ending–it all works out for Bud and readers are left with a truly warm and happy feeling. However, the hard times during the Depression and especially the difficulties faced by African Americans are not ignored. A fast read for individual readers and a great book to read aloud. 1999, Delacorte, $15.95. Ages 8 to 12.
Courtot, M. (1999). [Review of the book Bud, not Buddy, by C. P. Curtis]. Children’s Literature. Retrieved from http://childrenslit.com/
Uses in the Library
I would include this book in a display of books for Black History month. At the beginning of the month, I would love to show the 5th grade classes my book trailer for Bud, not Buddy and host a short book talk to get them excited about this book and other black history related titles.