Tuesday, November 4, 2014

BLUFFTON by Matt Phelan. 2013.   Gr. 6-8    JUV

Phelan’s graphic novel takes readers back in history to The Actors’ Colony at Bluffton, in Muskegon, Michigan in 1908.  The famous actor, Buster Keaton, was one of the children who spent summers there after working the vaudeville circuit with his family for the rest of the year. BLUFFTON is told through the eyes of Henry, a local boy who envies Buster’s life as a performer.In contrast, Phelan portrays Buster Keaton as a talented performer who would rather spend his time playing baseball than anything else. There are plenty of discussion points for students, as the author includes controversial topics such as allegations of child abuse connected to the physical nature of the Keatons’ stage act. The superb illustrations leave some room for interpretation and will inspire readers to research the names of other actors in the story.  By the way, this book was included in the Michigan Notable Books for 2014.
Lynette Suckow, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

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