Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
Genre: Preteen Fiction
Published in 1999
Recommended Age Group: 10 and Up
Summary: Bud, Not Buddy, is a Newbery Medal book about ten-year-old Bud whose been living in an orphanage for the past four years since his Mom died. This is during the years of the depression and Bud’s been in and out of many foster homes and after his stay with the Amos family he decided to run away and find his father. Bud’s Mom kept some flyers with a band on them and the only constant was the name Herman E. Calloway so Bud thought that was his father. His Mom also kept some rocks with names and dates on them. Bud knew Herman was living in Cedar Rapids so Bud decided to walk the 120 miles from Flint, Michigan to Cedar Rapids. On the way he meets Lefty Lewis who gave him somewhere to sleep and a ride the rest of the way to Cedar Rapids.
Once Bud arrived he went straight to Herman and tells him that Herman is his father. This gets a laugh for almost everyone and a scowl from Herman. The rest of the band accepted Bud readily but Herman continued to shun him and leave whenever Bud was around until one day Bud rides home from a gig with Herman and they discover something they have in common. The rocks with the name and date on them are from Herman and were a gift to Bud’s mother. They are the cities and dates of places Herman and his band played. This leads to a discovery that is quite shocking for Herman but good for everyone. In the end Bud finds himself happy and where he was supposed to be. Like his mother said when one door closes another opens.
Personal Notes: I really enjoyed the humor in this book. Curtis wrote from the perspective of Bud and the things he says and the way he observes things are so funny. For example, “There was a real old smell that came out of it too, like dried-up slobber and something dead. It smelled great!” I read that and I just can’t help thinking ten-year-old boy. Curtis really captured the boy and by doing that captures his audience.