Understanding Buddy by Marc Kornblatt

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Synopsis

Everyone in Sam Keeperman's fifth-grade class thinks the new boy, Buddy White, is strange.

Buddy won't talk, or smile, or even pick up a pencil, and he walks all hunched over, like someone caught in the rain. Some of the kids make fun of Buddy, but not Sam. That's because Sam knows what's bothering him: Three months ago, Buddy's mom was killed in a car accident. She used to clean Sam's house, and ever since Sam found out what happened to her, he can't get her out of his mind. Sam sticks up for Buddy, but the other kids start picking on Sam, too. Even Sam's best friend turns against him.

The more time Sam spends with Buddy -- and the more Buddy comes out of his shell -- the more Sam understands what it means to lose someone you love. And what it means to be a friend.

 

About Marc Kornblatt

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Marc Kornblatt worked as a waiter, bartender, doorman, typist, actor, and newspaper reporter before a friend who knew he was good with deadlines asked him to help her finish writing a book for young readers about World War II. He has since written other books for young readers about the Spanish Inquisition and the American Revolution, two picture books, and numerous stories, articles, and plays. Understanding Buddy is his first novel. A teacher and a storyteller, Mr. Kornblatt lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife, two children, and a retired greyhound racer named Gypsy.
 
Published April 1, 2001 by Margaret K. McElderry. 128 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Understanding Buddy

Kirkus Reviews

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Despite the gratuitous violence, and the likelihood that readers will wind up understanding Sam more than Buddy, since Sam and Alex have mended fences by the end and Buddy has begun to talk again, at least the future looks brighter.

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Publishers Weekly

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Sam's first-person narration touches on religious differences (Sam is Jewish, Buddy is a Jehovah's Witness) and uses, somewhat clunkily, Sam's Hebrew class discussions as a springboard for his questions about life and God (a lesson on God testing Abraham with the sacrifice of Isaac leads to "Did ...

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