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Brooklyn, Bugsy, and Me

by Lynea Bowdish
Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Published by Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2000
83 pages
ISBN: 0-374-30993-0

Ages 8 - 10

Nine-year-old Sam feels out of place in his grandfather's Brooklyn apartment where he and his mother have moved after the death of his father in World War II. Not only does the city neighborhood seem strange in comparison to the small town in West Virginia where he had lived all his life, but his grandfather seems gruff and uncaring. Things get a little better for Sam when he meets Tony, an outgoing neighborhood boy who shows him around. But Sam is surprised to learn from Tony that his grandfather is a beloved neighborhood character known as Bugsy, popular with adults and children alike. How can Bugsy possibly be the old man Sam lives with but can't get close to? There is a surprising amount of emotional complexity in this short easy-to-read novel which young readers will be able to tap into because the author skillfully uses action to build character. Sam's attempts to reconcile two very different pictures of his grandfather are handled with poignant humor and understatement. CCBC categories: Easy Fiction; Fiction for Children; Historical People, Places, and Events. (KTH; July 3) 2000 Cooperative Children's Book Center

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