Bud, Not Buddy

Mass Market Paperback | September 14, 2004

byChristopher Paul Curtis

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The Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award-winning classic about a boy who decides to hit the road to find his father—from Christopher Paul Curtis, author of The Watsons Go To Birmingham—1963, a Newbery and Coretta Scott King Honoree.
 
It’s 1936, in Flint Michigan. Times may be hard, and ten-year-old Bud may be a motherless boy on the run, but Bud’s got a few things going for him:

1. He has his own suitcase full of special things.
2. He’s the author of Bud Caldwell’s Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself.
3. His momma never told him who his father was, but she left a clue: flyers advertising Herman E. Calloway and his famous band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression!!!!!!
 
Bud’s got an idea that those flyers will lead him to his father. Once he decides to hit the road to find this mystery man, nothing can stop him—not hunger, not fear, not vampires, not even Herman E. Calloway himself.
 
AN ALA BEST BOOK FOR YOUNG ADULTS
AN ALA NOTABLE CHILDREN'S BOOK
AN IRA CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD WINNER
NAMED TO 14 STATE AWARD LISTS
 
“The book is a gem, of value to all ages, not just the young people to whom it is aimed.” —The Christian Science Monitor
 
“Will keep readers engrossed from first page to last.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred
 
“Curtis writes with a razor-sharp intelligence that grabs the reader by the heart and never lets go. . . . This highly recommended title [is] at the top of the list of books to be read again and again.” —Voice of Youth Advocates, Starred




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From the Publisher

The Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award-winning classic about a boy who decides to hit the road to find his father—from Christopher Paul Curtis, author of The Watsons Go To Birmingham—1963, a Newbery and Coretta Scott King Honoree.   It’s 1936, in Flint Michigan. Times may be hard, and ten-year-old Bud may be a motherless boy on...

From the Jacket

It's 1936 Flint, Michigan. Times may be hard, and 10-year-old Bud may be a motherless boy, but Bud's got a few things going for him: 1. He has his own suitcase full of special things; 2. He's the author of "Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself"; 3. His momma never told him wh...

Christopher Paul Curtis is the author of the Newbery Honor–winning The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963.

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Format:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 6.88 × 4.16 × 0.75 inPublished:September 14, 2004Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553494104

ISBN - 13:9780553494105

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from has a certain charm but several questionable elements It is 1936, in the midst of the Great Depression, and ten-year-old Bud Caldwell lives in Flint, MI. His mother, who always said that his name is Bud, not Buddy, never told him anything about his father, but she kept a bunch of fliers about a musician and band-leader named Herman E. Calloway of Grand Rapids, MI, and Bud fantasizes that Calloway must be his father. Unfortunately, Bud’s mother died four years earlier, and Bud has been in and out of the orphanage and various foster homes, the latest being the Amoses. Then when Todd Amos beats him up and Mrs. Amos decides to send him back to the orphanage for defending himself, Bud decides to run away to Grand Rapids to find his father. Will he make it? And what will he find if he gets there? Author Christopher Paul Curtis, who had received a Newbery honor in 1996 for The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1963 and later gained another in 2007 for Elijah of Buxton, said that while Bud, Not Buddy, which won the Newbery Medal in 2000, is fictional, many of the situations which Bud encounters are based on events which occurred during the 1930s and a couple of the characters are drawn from real people. Thus, the reader will learn about life for African-Americans in the Great Depression, including Hoovervilles, hobos, racism, the KKK, and jazz music. The book certainly has a charm about it and finds its way to a happy ending. However, there are some questionable aspects to the story which need at least to be noted. Though it is never mentioned out in the open, there is a constant underlying suggestion that Bud is an illegitimate child. And some people may not care for the pencil-up-the-nose and the shotgun-fantasy scenes. Also there are a few language issues. In addition to some common euphemisms and childish slang (dang, darn, gee, and pee), Bud says “doggoned” a lot—and I mean A LOT!—as well as “kiss my wrist” several times. And others use such “polite” profane interjections as sweet baby Jesus, Lord knows, for God’s sake, my Lord, by God, and Lord have mercy. But most troubling is the fact that deception is accepted as a means of survival with little consequence. In other words, Bud lies—again, A LOT! In fact, throughout the book are found several of “Bud Caldwell’s Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself.” Some of these are funny and harmless, but rule number 3 is “If you got to tell a lie, make sure it’s simple and easy to remember.” One might argue that Bud doesn’t have parents to reinforce right from wrong, but many parents will cringe at a book which appears to endorse lying. As one friend noted, “I’m sure leaving that controversial content in helped it win the coveted Newbery Award.” So caution is recommended, and those who parent from a Biblical worldview will want to pre-read the book and discuss the objectionable elements with their children. For these reasons, I would not suggest it for anyone younger than ages twelve and up.
Date published: 2012-12-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from FANTASTIC! This book is suspenceful and makes me want to read more. It organzies its ideas well and gives me a brief understanding of what its about. Bud not Buddy is a very appropriate book, that everyone can enjoy.
Date published: 2010-07-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Funny, informative and a genuinely nice story to boot! My ten year old niece had read Bud, Not Buddy, recently, at school, and as I’m always interested to know what it is she’s being taught, I decided to pick it up. At first I was discouraged by the book as it seemed to deal with a rather depressing story of a young orphan during the depression era, who was acting out revenge upon a foster family that had mistreated him. While making a mental note to explain to her the errors of vengeful retribution, I continued on and was soon pleasantly surprised by the novel’s turn. Christopher Paul Curtis has created a beautiful piece of historical fiction that teaches a young reader about some of the issues that were plaguing the American population of the 30’s, as well as telling a heartwarming story about a young boys will and determination to find his estranged father. Along the way Curtis is able to share with us the trials and tribulations of racism, homelessness and labour-union disputes, whilst keeping the tone of the book light, with a witty dialogue that often had me chuckling. Not to say that it was all roses, because there is really no way to sugar coat families forced to live in Hooverville tenements at the side of the railroad tracks, especially in a day and age when tent cities are erecting all over North America due to the recent recession and mortgage crisis. The fact of the matter is these struggles were happening in the 30’s just as they are happening now. It is important that we can share these realities with our children in such a way that they become interested, and through compassion, help to make changes in our world so that these mistakes won’t happen again in the future. www.booksnakereviews.blogspot.com
Date published: 2009-01-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Award winning book This is a wonderful story about the adventure of Bud, not Buddy Caldwell. His journey takes him from an orphanage in Flint, MI, to a foster home, to Hooverville, to the road to Grand Rapids, back to Flint, and finally ending up at Grand Calloway Station in Grand Rapids. On this journey Bud has only a suitcase full of special things. He is guided by Bud Caldwell's rules and things for having a funner life and making a better liar out of yourself. All thou times are difficult and some people are not the kind, Bud meets many people on his journey who help along. On of my favourite scenes is when Bud goes to library searching for Miss Hill, trust librarian from better times. The description of the library is wonderful. The smell of the leather-covered books, new cloth-covered books and the paper of the pages seems to waft right off of the text. If only modern 21st century library were like that. This a good book where the feeling and language of the 1930s are woven into a journey of discovery for a 10 year boy. I highly recommend this title.
Date published: 2008-07-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Boring I am 12 years old and I am reading this book for literature circles. I read the book, and at times I found that the only thing keeping me from not finishing the book was that I had to, for school. Bud (not Buddy) is a very interesting character but the author seldom uses the right words to describe the situations Bud finds himself in. I recommend that if you are going to purchase this book, you read it at the library first and decide then, because although I find it quite boring, it looks like a lot of people think its a very intuitive novel.
Date published: 2003-04-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bud, Not Buddy Bud not Buddy was a book which gives you a taste of history in an interesting way, through the life of a ten-year-old boy, on the lam. It shows you how a boy who lived motherless for 4 years gets by, and it teaches you about the Great Depression. I give this book 10 stars, and it makes me think about how lucky I am when I read a passage about how this boy has never been in a restauraunt before, and didn't know you could order you own food.
Date published: 2001-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bud,not buddy My name is Jordan and I'm 11 years old. I think Bud,not buddy is the best book I have ever read. I simply feel like I am in the story.It's about a little boy who's mom died when he was six.And he goes through many obsticles. I would recomend this book to anyone who loves books and has a great imagination.
Date published: 2001-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Book I thought this book was very well written. I enjoyed this book more than I have any other book. The plot was wonderful.
Date published: 2000-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Active Funny Bud Bud Not Buddy is quite an exciting,funny,and sad book.At first the book might be quite boring. But as the story goes on the book gets more and more powerful,intresting and entertaning. Bud Not Buddy is about a boy that ran away from his foster parent's home to find his father. One of the highlights is the rules that he made up.This gave me an idea to make my own rules!!!
Date published: 2000-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bud, Not Buddy Bud, Not Buddy takes you on an exciting adventure. The ending was very surprising! It's great how a little boy spends all his time trying to find his father. Christopher Curtis wrote an excellent book, and I encourage everyone to buy it.
Date published: 2000-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book This was one of the best books I have ever read! I read this book for 5 hours straight. It is fun to travel with Bud(not Buddy!) and meet the people he meets along the way.Bud is the kind of person you just have to like. If you are looking for a book to read this is it. Christopher Paul Curtis did a great job writing this book!
Date published: 2000-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific! I was hooked on the title, and the book was every bit as good as its title. Mr. Curtis has written a book with a great plot and extremely interesting characters. I rank this book with Holes, Silverwing and the Harry Potter series as the best children's literature I've read in two years. I can't wait for his next book.
Date published: 2000-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from bud not buddy I heard an interview with the author on CBC radio... fascinating... he just won the prestigious Newberry Award for this book, a rarity for a Canadian author... this book should be hyped up!!!
Date published: 2000-01-28

Extra Content

Read from the Book

HERE WE GO AGAIN.  We were all standing in line waiting for breakfast when one of the caseworkers cam in an tap-tap-taped down the line.  Uh-oh, this meant bad news, either they'd found a foster home for somebody or somebody was about to be paddled.  All the kids watched the woman as she moved along the line, her high-heeled shoes sounding like little firecrackers going off on the wooden floor.Shoot! She stopped at me and said, "Are you Buddy Caldwell?"I said, "It's Bud, not Buddy, ma'am."She put her hand on my shoulder and took me out of line.  Then she pulled Jerry, on of the littler boys, over.  "Aren't you Jerry Clark?"  He nodded."Boys, good news!  Now that the school year has ended, you both have been accepted in new temporary-care homes starting this afternoon!"            Jerry asked me the same thing I was thinking. "Together?"She said, "why, no.  Jerry, you'll be in a family with three little girls--"Jerry looked like he'd just found out that they were going to dip him in a pot of boiling milk. "-- and Bud--"  She looked at some papers she was holding.  "Oh, yes, the Amoses, you'll be with Mr. And Mrs. Amos and their son, who's twelve years old, that makes him just two years older than you, doesn't it, Bud?" "Yes, ma'am."She said, "I'm sure you'll both be very happy."Me and Jerry looked at each other.The woman said "Now, now, boys, no need to look so glum.  I know you don't know what it means, but there is a depression going on all over this country.  People can't find jobs and these are very, very difficult times for everybody.  We've been lucky enough to find two wonderful families to open their doors for you.  I think it's best that we show our new foster families that we're very--"She dragged out the word very, waiting for us to finish the sentence.Jerry said, "Cheerful, helpful and grateful."  I moved my lips and mumbled. She smiled and said, "Unfortunately you won't have time for breakfast.  I'll have a couple of pieces of fruit put in a bag.  In the meantime got to the sleep room and strip your beds and gather all of your things."Here we go again.  I felt that I as walking in my sleep as I followed Jerry back to the room where all of the boys' beds were jim-jammed together.  This was the third foster home I was going to and I'm used to packing up and leaving, but it still surprises me that there are always a few seconds, right after they tell you you've got to go, when my nose gets all runny and my throat all choky and eyes get all sting-y.  But the tears coming out doesn't happen to me anymore.  I don't know when it first happened, but it seems like my eyes don't cry no more.Jerry sat on his bed and I could tell that he was losing the fight not to cry.  Tears were popping out of his eyes and slipping down his cheeks.I sat down next to him and said, "I know being in a house with three girls sounds terrible, Jerry, but it's a lot better than being with a boy who's a couple of years older than you.  I'm the one who's going to have problems.  A older boy is going to want to fight, but those little girls are going to treat you real good.  They're going to treat you like some kind of special pet or something."Jerry said, "You really think so?"            I said, "I'd trade you in a minute.  The worst thing that is going to happen to you is that they are going to make you play house a lot.  They'll probably make you be the baby and will hug you and do this kind of junk to you."  I tickled Jerry under his chin and said, "Ga-ga, goo-goo, baby-waby." Jerry couldn't help but smile.  I said, "You're going to be great."            Jerry looked like he wasn't so scared anymore so I went over to my bed and started getting ready.Even though it was me that was in a lot of trouble I couldn't help but feel sorry for Jerry.  Not only because he was going to have to live around three girls, but also because being six is a real tough age to be at.  Most folks think you start being a real adult when you're fifteen or sixteen years old, but that's not true, it really starts when you're around six.It's at six that grown folks don't think you're a cute little kid anymore, they talk to you and expect that you understand everything that they mean.  And you'd best understand too, if you aren't looking for some real trouble, 'cause its around six that grown folks stop giving you little swats and taps and jump clean up to giving you slugs that'll knock you right down and have you seeing stars in the middle of the day.  The first foster home I was in taught me that real quick.Six is a bad time too 'cause that's when some real scary things start to happen to your body, it's around then that your teeth start coming a-loose in your mouth.You wake up one morning and it seems like your tongue is the first one to notice that something strange is going on, ' cause as soon as you get up there it is pushing and rubbing up against one of your front teeth and I'll be doggoned if that tooth isn't the littlest bit wiggly.At first you think it's kind of funny, but the tooth keeps getting looser and looser and one day, in the middle of pushing the tooth back and forth and squinching your eyes shut, you pull it clean out. It's the scariest thing you can think of  'cause you lose control of your tongue at the same time and no matter how hard you try to stop it, it won't the new hole in rout mouth alone, it keeps digging around in the spot where the tooth used to be.You tell some adult about what's happening but they do is say it's normal.  You can't be too sure, though, 'cause it shakes you up a whole lot more than grown folks think it does when perfectly good parts of your body commence to loosening up and falling off of youUnless you're as stupid as a lamppost you've got to wonder what's coming off next, your arm?  Your leg?  Your neck?  Every morning when you wake up it seems a lot of your parts aren't stuck on as good as they used to be.Six is real tough.  That's how old I was when I came to live here in the Home.  That's how old I was when Momma died.I folded the blanket and sheet and set them back on the mattress.  Then I reached under the bed to get my suitcase.  Most of the kids in the Home keep their things in a paper or cloth sack, but not me.  I have my own suitcase.I set it on the mattress and untied the twine that held it together.  I did what I do every night before I go to sleep.  I checked to make sure that everything was there.  The way there're more and more kids coming into the Home every day, I had to be sure no one had run off with any of my things. First I pulled my blanket out and saw that everything was where it was supposed to be.  At the bottom of my suitcase were my flyers.  I took the blue flyer out and looked at it again. The paper was starting to wear out from me looking at it so much but I liked to check if there was anything that I hadn't noticed before.  It was like something was telling me there was a message for me on this flyer but I didn't have the decoder ring to read what was.Across the top of the flyer writ in big black letters were the words LIMITED ENGAGEMENT, then in little letters it said, "Direct from an S.R.O. engagement in New York City."  Underneath that in big letters again it said, "Herman E. Calloway and the Ducky Devastators of the Depression!!!!!!" Those six exclamation points made it seem like this was the most important news anyone could think of, seems like you'd have to be really great to deserve all of those exclamation points all stacked up in a row like that.Next the paper said, "Masters of the New Jazz," then in the middle of the flyer was a blurry picture of the man I have a real good suspicion about.  I've never met him, but I have a pretty good feeling that this guy must be my father.In the picture he's standing next to t giant fiddle that's taller than him.  It looks like it's real heavy 'cause he's leaning up against it trying to hold it up.  He looks like he's been doing this for a long time and he must be tired 'cause he has a droopy, dreamy look on his face.  There are two men beside him, one playing drums and the other one blowing a horn.            It wasn't hard to see what the guy must be my father was like just by looking at his picture.  You could tell her was a real quiet, real friendly and smart man, he had one of those kinds of faces.  Underneath the picture someone had writ with a black fountain pen, "One Night Only in Flint, Michigan, at the Luxurious Fifty Grand on Saturday June 16, 1932. 9 Until ?"I remember Momma bringing this flyer with her when she came from working one day, I remember because she got very upset when she put it on the supper table and kept looking at it and picking it up and putting it back and moving it around.  I was only six then and couldn't understand why this one got her so upset, she kept four others that were a lot like it in her dressing table, but this one really got her jumpy.  The only difference I could see between the blue one and the others was that the others didn't say anything about Flint on them.I remember this blue one too 'cause it wasn't too long after she brought it home that I knocked on Momma's bedroom door, then found her.I put the flyer back in the suitcase with the four older one and put everything back in its place.I went over to the big chest of drawers and took my other set of clothes our and put them in the suitcase too.  I tied the twine back around my bag, then went and sat on Jerry's bed with him.  Jerry must've been thinking just as hard as I was 'cause neither one of said nothing, we just sat close enough so that our shoulders were touching.Here we go again.From the Hardcover edition.