Great Illustrated Books

Bud, Not Buddy

By Christopher Paul Curtis

Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 1999
Pages : 256
Suggested Ages: 9 and Up
ISBN: 9780553494105

Ten-year-old Bud Caldwell awakens, that first night in his new foster home, feeling like something is stuck in his nose. Opening his eyes, he sees Todd Amos, the bullying son of his latest set of foster parents, holding a #2 Ticonderoga pencil and exclaiming, "I've never gotten it in as deep as the N on any of you other little street urchins." Losing a fight with Todd and being locked in the Amos’s shed, where he gets stung by hornets, is enough to make Bud decide to hit the road. Instead of heading back to the Home in Flint, Michigan, where he's lived since his mother died four years before, Bud heads to Grand Rapids in search of the legendary bandleader, Herman E. Calloway, whom he believes to be his real father. It's 1936, and with the Great Depression in full swing, times are tough, especially for a homeless African American child. His resilient spirit and a knack for organizing his life into "Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things to Have a Funner Life and Make a Better Liar Out of Yourself" keep him moving. There's Rule Number Three: "If you got to tell a lie, make sure it's simple and easy to remember." And I particularly like Rules and Things Number 83: "If an adult tells you not to worry, and you weren't worried before, better hurry up and start 'cause you're already running late."

Readers will laugh out loud at the lively cast of characters Bud encounters and his jaunty wide-eyed way of looking at his predicaments, though his many encounters with racism will lead to sober discussion. You'll love this Newbery winner for parent/son or any book discussion groups, and it's one of the century's great read-alouds.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone Does My Shirts. Putnam, 2004. ISBN-13: 9780142403709

Curtis, Christopher Paul. Elijah of Buxton. Scholastic, 2007. ISBN-13: 9780439023443

Curtis, Christopher Paul. The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963. Delacorte, 1995. ISBN-13: 9780440414124

English, Karen. Francie. Farrar, 1999. ISBN-13: 9780374324568

Fox, Paula. Monkey Island. Orchard, 1991. ISBN-13: 9780440407706

Hesse, Karen. Out of the Dust. Scholastic, 1997. ISBN-13: 9780590371254

Levine, Gail Carson. Dave at Night. HarperCollins, 1999. ISBN-13: 9780064407472

Mitchell, Margaree King. Uncle Jed's Barbershop. Simon & Schuster, 1993. ISBN-13: 9780689819131

Peck, Richard. A Long Way from Chicago. Dial, 1998. ISBN-13: 9780141303529

Peck, Richard. A Year Down Yonder. Dial, 2000. ISBN-13: 9780142300701

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra. Hyperion, 1998. ISBN-13: 9780786814206

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa. Hyperion, 2002. ISBN-13: 9780786814169

Recorvits, Helen. Goodbye, Walter Malinski. Farrar, 1999. ISBN-13: 9780374327477

Sachar, Louis. Holes. Farrar, 1998. ISBN-13: 9780440414803

Taylor, Mildred. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Dial, 1976. ISBN-13: 9780140384512

Critics have said

"Bud's journey, punctuated by Dickensian twists in plot and enlivened by a host of memorable personalities, will keep readers engrossed from first page to last. "
Publishers Weekly

"The author takes on a difficult time and seemingly sad plot, but Bud, the hero, has humor and originality that will open new doors and understanding about this era."

"His utterly believable depiction of the self-reliant charm and courage of Bud, not Buddy, puts this highly recommended title at the top of the list of books to be read again and again."
Beth E. Andersen, VOYA

"Curtis has given a fresh, new look to a traditional orphan-finds-a-home story that would be a crackerjack read-aloud."
Kathleen Isaacs, School Library Journal