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Bluffton: My Summers with Buster

by Matt Phelan

Published by Candlewick Press, 2013
223 pages
ISBN: 978𢠩636-50797

Ages 9-13

Bluffton was an actors colony just outside Muskegon, Michigan, established in 1908 by Joe Keaton to give Vaudeville performers a place to relax during the summer months when theaters were too hot to draw an audience. For Joe抯 son, Buster, Bluffton was a place where he could be a kid, pursuing his love of baseball and hanging out with kids his own age instead of starring in his parents act. A graphic novel spanning three summers is told from the point of view of Henry Harrison, a fictional boy who lives in Muskegon. He becomes Buster抯 summer friend and dreams of being a performer himself. Life in Muskegon is anything but glamorous, but to be on the stage! Everything is wonderfully understated in Matt Phelan抯 storytelling, from the color palette to the dialogue to the way he fills in Henry抯 life between each of the summers with several brief, elegant, wordless page spreads. A handful of years can bring maturity and new depth of understanding, and just how Henry changes, and how his relationship with Buster affects and reveals that change, is gracefully told.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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