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Bluffton : My Summers with Buster
by Matt Phelan

Overview - In the summer of 1908, in Muskegon, Michigan, a visiting troupe of vaudeville performers is about the most exciting thing since baseball. They re summering in nearby Bluffton, so Henry has a few months to ogle the elephant and the zebra, the tightrope walkers and lo and behold a slapstick actor his own age named Buster Keaton.  Read more...

 
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More About Bluffton by Matt Phelan
 
 
 
Overview
In the summer of 1908, in Muskegon, Michigan, a visiting troupe of vaudeville performers is about the most exciting thing since baseball. They re summering in nearby Bluffton, so Henry has a few months to ogle the elephant and the zebra, the tightrope walkers and lo and behold a slapstick actor his own age named Buster Keaton. The show folk say Buster is indestructible; his father throws him around as part of the act and the audience roars, while Buster never cracks a smile. Henry longs to learn to take a fall like Buster, "the human mop," but Buster just wants to play ball with Henry and his friends. With signature nostalgia, Scott O Dell Award winning graphic novelist Matt Phelan visualizes a bygone era with lustrous color, dynamic lines, and flawless dramatic pacing."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780763650797
  • ISBN-10: 076365079X
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA)
  • Publish Date: July 2013
  • Page Count: 223
  • Reading Level: Ages 9-12


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Comics & Graphic Novels - General
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Performing Arts - Theater
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Issues - Friendship

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-08-26
  • Reviewer: Staff

Historical detail, a rich sense of place, expert pacing—Phelan (Around the World) keeps all the plates in the air in this fictionalized recreation of the boyhood summers of Buster Keaton. In lightly sketched, gently tinted watercolor panels, Phelan conveys the excitement a troupe of summering vaudeville actors brings to sleepy Bluffton, a small resort town on Lake Michigan. It's easy to understand the envy the boy narrator Henry feels for his new friend, the child star Keaton, who performs in a comic act in which he's tossed about by his father. Buster's stunts and pratfalls are polished, and his signature deadpan gaze is already perfected. Simultaneously, Phelan hints at darker truths behind Buster's poise: his father's drinking, and the charges of child abuse that dog their act. "Buster's never been hurt in his life!" his red-faced father claims. "Well, not bad, anyway." Over several summers and endless baseball games—Buster's real passion—Henry considers the meaning of his own ordinary life in the light of his friend's celebrity in a way that's believable and satisfying. An unapologetically nostalgic piece of Americana. Ages 9–12. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (July)

 
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