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Bud, Not Buddy
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Bud, Not Buddy

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  105,612 ratings  ·  5,797 reviews
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:

He has his own suitcase full of special things.

He's the author of Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself.

His momma never told him who his father was, but she left a clu
...more
Hardcover, 243 pages
Published September 7th 1999 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 1999)
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Vida Wilson Hi Nancy, I read this book in 4th grade, I was 9 and am now 23. Honestly, this is one of the best books I've ever read, truly a lovely story. Any chil…moreHi Nancy, I read this book in 4th grade, I was 9 and am now 23. Honestly, this is one of the best books I've ever read, truly a lovely story. Any child that is struggling with a difficult home life will be able to identify with the journey that this little boy takes. It's all about perseverance and survival in a world that is seemingly against him. Would definitely recommend it.(less)
Jodi
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  105,612 ratings  ·  5,797 reviews


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LPos11
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I will never look at a 'ticonderoga' pencil the same again! ...more
Teresa
Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5

One of my husband's grandsons (the 5th grader) asked me if I'd read this book and when I said 'no' (I hadn't heard of it), he told me it was good. Well, if a boy, about to turn 11, takes the time to recommend a book to me, odds are I'm going to read it.

The voice of the 10-year-old, Bud (not Buddy), in this novel is irrepressible and the setting of Flint, Michigan, during the Depression comes to life with tons of details but not a one of them ponderous. While keeping its tone age-appropriate,
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Julie G
I took a class on "archetypes" several years ago (this is where I learned to love Joseph Campbell). The class began with the teacher reading us a story aloud. At the end of the story, she asked us to write down which one of the 5 characters in the story represented us best. I wrote down “the prince.”

When the teacher came over to collect my paper, she read what I had written and chuckled. She said something like, “Women almost never write down 'the prince.' It's unusual.”

Why unusual? Don't most p
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Rachel Reads Ravenously
3.5 stars

I think Curtis's voice was spectacular, but the plot fell a little bit flat for me. I laughed out loud at all the parts when Bud described librarians, and enjoyed all of his antics. Listening to the audiobook was a lot of fun, but overall I felt a bit lost for the majority of the book on where it was going. Great characters and a great job describing the time it takes place, but overall it wasn't a huge win for me.


Follow me on ♥ FacebookBlogInstagramTwitter
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Book Concierge
Audio book performed by James Avery.
5***** and a ❤

In Depression-era Flint, Michigan, 10-year-old Bud Caldwell (BUD, not Buddy) is plucked from the “home” to go to a foster family. This will be the third foster home he’s been in, and he’s not impressed. But he takes his worn, cardboard suitcase with his few but treasured possessions and tries to make the best of it. Before he knows it, he’s on the lam, determined to find his own way and sure that the things his Momma left him are clues to his fa
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Jessica
I have been meaning to read this for years, in my quest to read all the Newbery books, but I haven't super been in the mood for it until now. When I kind of had to be in the mood for it, because my daughter brought it home to read for Battle of the Books, and then the schools shut down and here we were with a copy! And then the school scheduled us to bring back any books or school materials this week, and I thought, Welp, if not now, when?

I was pleasantly surprised: one of the reasons I've put
...more
Karina
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
What does an adult do when a nine-year-old boy that hates reading recommends this book to you? YOU READ IT!!! And so glad I did! Took me a few hours and I enjoyed every chapter.

"When I'd jerked up in my bed and opened my eyes Todd was standing next to me with a yellow pencil in his hand. He was looking at it like it was a thermometer and said 'Wow! You got all the way up to R!'

He turned the pencil toward me, crunched up against the headboard. I saw TICONDEROGA printed on the yellow wood." (PAG
...more
Linda Lipko
Christopher Paul Curtis did it again! In writing this 2000 Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King award-winning book, he wove another magical, enchanting, complex, well crafted and spell binding tale filled with poignancy, sadness and laughter while teaching history in a captivating way.

I've raved about this author before, so please indulge my obsession one more time in encouraging you to take a few hours of solitude to savor every word, phrase and nuance of this incredible writer.

What's in a name
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Short  Reviews
Dnf at around 80%.

It's not that book wasn't good. The writing was fun to read, the main character Bud not Buddy was adorable and his determination to make his life better was so uplifting.

But I just kept it under my bed for so long that I'm no longer interested in finishing it. That, and it was overdue at my library so I had to return it today.

So I doubt I'll be reviewing this properly. Looks like I'm just as lazy trying to type words to describe this book now as I was reading the book.

I won't b
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Wendy
Sep 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: newbery
I really liked this sweet kid's voice. The author does it perfectly--his own voice never intrudes. I liked the way racism is touched on several times, because it's an inescapable part of Bud's life, but not dwelt on, because that isn't what the story's about.

It has something of a fantasy ending, but that's maybe not such a bad thing here.
...more
Sue K H
Oct 29, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful little story about a depression era black orphan in Flint Michigan. Bud is only 6 years old when his single mother dies without ever telling him who his father is. After being shuffled around foster homes for a few years he decided to run away and look for his father who he decides must be the musician that his mother kept a poster of.

This story will warm your heart and the edition I have had a wonderful afterward where the author talks about how many of the characters are b
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Bri
**4.5 stars**

When I tell you the end had my chest HURTING!! Excellent middle grade (skewing older) story, it’s sitting between 4 or 5 stars for me.
Christopher Paul Curtis is one of those classic children’s lit authors. I did have a hard time being convinced that Bud was 10 years old in the front half of the book, but his decisions later made him more believable. I loved the (literal) found family story in this, it melted part of my freezer burned heart :)
Ash R.
Jan 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Bud, Not Buddy is a tense book that took place during the Great Depression. It is about an Orphan thats an African Boy looking for this father with only few clues of finding him. He use to live with his mother all his life, but after his mother got sick for awhile, she dies and Bud is sent to "The Home". His mother did tell him his father was in a jazz band and Bud escaped and was on his way to look for his dad.

I can make a text to world connection to Bud trying to find his dad because there ar
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Rebecca
This was no The Watsons Go to Birmingham. Just a little too predictable. But it's powerfully told, and Curtis has the rare ability to get inside the head of his young narrators. Especially smart, sassy, sensitive little boys... Bud is definitely a winner.

Audiobook minuses:
While younger readers might find them really funny, these two things drove me CRazy. Especially trapped in the car wishing my eyes could glaze over a line or two.
1)The slang seemed vaguely era-appropriate (see Rebecca's Fictio
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Amanda
Nov 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
When Bud Caldwell decides to run away from his most recent foster family in Depression-era Michigan, he has no destination in mind. After a few days (and a failed attempt to hop a train), he realizes that the only place he knows to go is Grand Rapids, Michigan, to look up the man that he is convinced is his father. Unfortunately Herman E. Calloway, a famous jazz musician, has no interest in taking care of a 10-year-old orphan who could not possibly be his son. Bud lands on his feet, though, than ...more
Stephanne Stacey
My daughter had to read this for school. This is the daughter that doesn't like to read. She loved it, and told me that I had to read it as well! Any one that knows me would know how weird and remarkable that is. So I borrowed the class addition and read it this weekend. Amazing! For a young adult book this should be a must read.

The story will make you laugh, cry, and hope that the protagonist will find what he is looking for. I even enjoyed the way it ended, resolved yet leaving you hoping tha
...more
Sarah B
This was a real pleasure to read! I got totally swept up into the world of the Great Depression in Flint, Michigan and the life of Bud. He was having a very tough time (darn right awful at times and so unfair too) but he never gave up and for a ten year old he was very brave indeed. If only more kids these days could be like Bud the world would be a much better place. While he is not perfect (as no one is) and he has many misadventures I think he actually makes a good role model.. The world in t ...more
Alicia Valentyn
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found this treasure, of a book, while walking through our Portland neighborhood. The book’s cover called to me from inside a Book Nook. My boyfriend George, and I took turns reading the short story.

The author took us on an unexpected emotional journey.

I loved the way the author had us right in the Home (orphanage), shed, library, under the tree, trying to catch the train, in the suitcase, driving a car, listening to the band, on stage, holding the rocks, believing in family, saxophone, and mo
...more
Kate
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
4/5stars

I read this with my fifth graders and they REALLY enjoyed it. They thought it was very funny but also intense and exciting. I remember reading this when I was in about fourth or fifth grade and I wasn't the biggest fan, and this time around I definitely enjoyed it more than when I was a kid. but this was just overall a very fun time and a great novel to read with my classes.
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Jenna
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a reread of a childhood favorite! I enjoyed this story and can't wait to read it with my kids someday.
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Lstirl
Oct 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
On an adventure to find a family, Bud charms and moves the reader with both his fortitude and wit.


Ages 9-12

This is a very moving and heartwarming book. The adventurous nature of the book will appeal to children, as will the optimistic and humorous protagonist, Bud. Along his journey to find a family, Bud meets many interesting and well-presented characters, such as the mouth organ playing man at "Hooverville," his friend, Bugs, and Miss Thomas. While the setting is bleak and sad, Bud remains fu
...more
●Sophie●
Jul 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, blue
The story of Bud, Not Buddy takes place during the Great Depression. We come to know and love the tenacious ten-year-old Bud for his strength of character, his humor, and his determination to find his true place in the world no matter the obstacle. Bud’s mother died when he was younger, and after years of orphanages and unhappy foster-family situations, Bud sets out on his own in search of the man he believes to be his father. His only clue is a flyer left behind by his mother featuring a jazz m ...more
Kristen
I need to learn to stop reading the last pages of books for my Children's Materials class in coffee shops. It always sounds like such a good idea, but ends in my crying, surreptitiously wiping tears away, while the people in the shop look away from me in embarrassment. And Bud, Not Buddy was no exception to this rule. I am an overwrought, emotional sucker.

I loved this book. I laughed out loud in several places--most notably when Bud would tell his "Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things to have a Funne
...more
Jill
Nov 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: newbery-medal
I have to say, for one of the newer Newbery winners I wasn't particularly impressed. It's funny, Mandy told me she thought it started off slow and became a little more interesting toward the end. I had the opposite experience--after the first few chapters I thought the story had great potential. I had high hopes, but for me the writing started to drag in the middle and fizzled out toward the end. I thought the author could have done more to resolve the relationship between Bud and Herman.

"Most
...more
Jacquelyn
Nov 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Genre: Historical fiction Reading level: Ages 9-12
A young boy decides to run away from his foster home and travel across country in search of a man he believes to be his father. His only knowledge of this elusive figure lies in his most precious possessions, a handful of flyers that his mother held dear featuring a musician in a series of jazz bands. Bud uses his wit, humor, and his “Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself”. Food and jobs may be har
...more
David Sof 2014
Mar 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Bud, Not Buddy is a book by Christopher paul Curtis. It is about an lonely african boy who is a orphan looking for this dad with only a slight amount of clues to seek him. His mother was sick and she died. Bud was sent to a place called the Home. His mother gave him some of what hes father was and he learned he was in a jazz band and more. So he gets out of the place and the search had begun.

I can connect this to the world and other books of Orphans never knowing what their parents were or who s
...more
Matt
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read Bud, Not Buddy with my 5th grader for her school reading assignment. I really enjoyed this story. It is about a 10-year old orphan named Bud Caldwell. Bud’s mother passed away when he was six and he has been in many foster homes the past four years and he finally decides to “go on the lam” to try to find his long missing father. The journey and his discovery are both believable and entertaining.

There are some touching and emotional parts in the story that were very well done. The author
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Donna Craig
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this author’s book, The Mighty Miss Malone, several years back and was blown away. I quickly snapped up this book and placed it on my TBR shelf.

I strongly prefer books written by female authors about middle-aged or older women. This book, on the other hand, is aimed at middle grade readers, about a ten-year-old boy. Time passed.

Recently, my daughter and a couple of GR friends raved about the book. I picked it back up, and...woop, zoop, sloop...I was hooked.

This is the story of a boy wh
...more
Jenna Marie ~Scheming Scribbler~
Writing style: 5 stars
Plot: 3.5 stars
It was a bit boring, and Bud's personality got a bit annoying at times. Still, the writing was captivating and smooth, and it was a great historic description of a black orphan boy in the Great Depression! A good read for younger kids, but I was a bit underwhelmed by it overall.
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Mary Emma Sivils
Apr 27, 2022 rated it really liked it
As a kid, I skimmed through this book and set it aside, thinking it was boring because there weren't enough girls in it.
Apparently, my standards have changed since then. It was genuinely entertaining to see the Depression-era world through the eyes of this no-nonsense, little "human bean"! I especially enjoyed the focus on music in the last part of the book. I had some of the same feelings about music when I was young, although I wouldn't have known how to describe them the way Bud does.
Honestly
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Children's Books: This topic has been closed to new comments. The Newbery books of 2000 - Bud, not Buddy - D&A January 2024 1 3 Jul 04, 2022 10:35AM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Finding a book about the jazz era. [s] 4 34 Apr 11, 2020 06:53PM  
Historical Fiction 1 5 Oct 02, 2019 11:44AM  
September Book Review 1 4 Sep 14, 2019 05:53AM  
UCAS English 11 R...: February Book Review 2 7 Feb 28, 2019 08:57PM  

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Curtis was born in Flint, Michigan on May 10, 1953 to Dr. Herman Elmer Curtis, a chiropodist, and Leslie Jane Curtis, an educator. The city of Flint plays an important role in many of Curtis's books. One such example is Bucking the Sarge, which is about a fifteen year old boy named Luther T. Ferrel, who is in a running battle with his slum-lord mother. Curtis is an alumnus of the University of Mic ...more

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“...that was Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things to Have a Funner LIfe and Make a Better Liar Out of Yourself Number 83...If a Adult Tells You Not to Worry, and You Weren't Worried Before, You Better Hurry Up and Start 'Cause You're Already Running Late.” 57 likes
“There comes a time when you're losing a fight that it just doesn't make sense to keep on fighting. It's not that you're being a quitter, it's just that you've got the sense to know when enough is enough.” 48 likes
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