Friday, August 2, 2013




From School Library Journal

Gr 3-6-Henry and his hometown of Muskegon, Michigan, may be ordinary, but neighboring Bluffton is anything but. The year is 1908, and vaudevillians have come to the resort town to relax for the summer. Intrigued by the visitors, Henry heads off to Bluffton and meets a young actor named Buster Keaton. The two boys quickly become friends, but each of them yearns for what the other has-Henry wants a life of show business and fame, while Buster wants a normal life filled with baseball and fishing. Phelan does an excellent job of showing an accurate portrayal of Buster Keaton, from his dangerous physical comedy routines to his alcoholic father; the facts flow so smoothly that it does not feel like historical fiction at all. Henry is undeveloped in the beginning and simply moves along Buster's story, but the character really comes into his own later on when feuding with Buster and trying to put on a show of his own. Phelan's watercolors are expertly rendered and soft in focus, but pop at just the right moments, simultaneously showing the sleepiness of the town, the glamour of show business, and the energy of summer. An author's note and some photos explain a bit more about the real Buster Keaton. Overall, Bluffton is a rich and engaging story with a lot of charm, and will be a great choice for early chapter-book readers and graphic-novel fans.-Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WIα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.            
 From Kirkus Reviews
 Thrilling—a spirited, poignant coming-of-age vignette and an intriguing window into a little-known chapter in vaudeville history.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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