'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 6 March 2017

Review: Bud Not Buddy

It's the Big Depression in Michigan, a time when workers receive a pittance if they're paid at all, entire communities live in cardboard towns and the Ku Klux Klan maraud unrestricted at night.

Not quite eleven-year-old African American Bud Caldwell has survived four years of orphanage life. After a holiday foster home disaster that involves close encounters with a pencil up the nose, vampire bats and a hornet's nest, Bud chooses life on the lam.

With nothing and no one in the world except a beat up old suitcase, a few worthless treasures and flyers that might lead him to his father, Bud sets out for Grand Falls one hundred and twenty miles away. At night. On foot.

With more guts than good sense and a whole lot of luck, he lands a bed for the night, some mighty fine food and a lift to Grand Falls where the mystery of his unknown father deepens.

From the first page, Bud's quirky point of view and his  almost heartbreaking optimism hooked me in. His  impeccable manners confounds those he meets but will it be enough to lead him to his long lost daddy?

Christopher Paul Curtis magically immersed me in this historical American setting by crafting dialogue that sang. I could hear the rich accents of the era in every character's words and feel the rhythm of local twang in my blood.

Among the accolades showered on Bud, not Buddy are the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award. Without doubt, Bud, Not Buddy is a timeless classic but it's one that reads like honey. From the feel of his first kiss to the sound of night creatures playing a deadly game of hide and seek, Bud's sensory world became mine, but it was the journey of Bud's hopeful heart that will stay with me for a very long time.

Title: Bud Not Buddy
Author: Christopher Paul Curtis
Publisher: Random House/Yearling Books, $15.99
Publication Date: 8 January 2002
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780440413288
For ages: 8 years +
Type: Middle Fiction