A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this Newbery Medal-winning novel by Christopher Paul Curtis is a well-crafted, funny tale of an orphan's poignant search for a home that will will keep readers turning the page. Bud runs away from his abusive foster family, and there are frank descriptions of the horrors of the Great Depression. Written in a strong, compelling voice, it beautifully evokes what life was like for African Americans, especially musicians, in Michigan during the Depression.
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What's the story?
Bud has run away from his abusive foster family. He's sleeping outside and can't find enough to eat. There's nothing left to do but go find Herman E. Calloway, the man whose picture used to make Momma upset. That man has got to be Bud's father! Orphaned Bud, not Buddy, Caldwell carries a ratty suitcase full of all his possessions wherever he goes. There's the picture of his Momma as a little girl. There's Momma's old pouch, full of smooth rocks with strange coded messages written on them. But the most important thing is a flyer advertising "Herman E. Calloway and the Dusky Devastators of the Depression."
Sure that this Herman E. Calloway is his father, Bud sets out to find him. But when Calloway turns out to be a grumpy old man, Miss Thomas, the Dusky Devastator's kind "vocal stylist," convinces him to give the 10-year-old a place to stay. Bud moves into the big house known as Grand Calloway Station and, with the help of Momma's rocks, soon discovers how he is related to Herman E. Calloway.
Is it any good?
Young Bud tells his story in BUD, NOT BUDDY in his own lively voice, making his character practically leap off the page. At times tough, sad, resilient, and funny, 10-year-old Bud is completely irresistible. His personality, coupled with the fast pace of the story, captures the attention of young readers on the first page and keeps them riveted right through to the end.
Bud keeps meeting up with good people who are willing to share what little they have, and to help Bud as much as they can. It is this portrayal of people at their best when circumstances are at their worst that ultimately makes the story a hopeful and heartwarming one.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Author: Christopher Paul Curtis
- Genre: Family Life
- Topics: Great Boy Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Random House
- Publication date: January 1, 1999
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
- Number of pages: 243
- Awards: Coretta Scott King Medal and Honors, Newbery Medal and Honors
Themes & Topics
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