Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton

Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton
Age Range
Release Date
July 23, 2013
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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.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
Grows on You
(Updated: February 16, 2014)
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
This book starts out slow and sleepy, like a warm summer day. Readers who enjoy flashy, humorous graphic novels or comic books may have a difficult time staying invested in the story, especially with illustrations that are a bit hazy and soft. But somewhere around the halfway point, the story becomes an emotionally rich coming of age story that is as much about two boys discovering their own separate destinies as it is about a piece of American history. The pacing that at first feels very slow picks up until the reader is turning pages quickly, thoroughly invested in finding out what happens.

Overall, this is a lovely book perfect for readers who enjoy taking their time with a story that slowly grows into something beautiful.
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