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Brooklyn, Bugsy, and Me
     

Brooklyn, Bugsy, and Me

by Bowdish, Nancy Carpenter (Illustrator)
 

Sam gets used to a new home and an old relative

In the summer of 1953, nine-year-old Sam and his mom move to Brooklyn to live with his grandfather. Mom has lost her job and has no prospects back home in West Virginia. So Sam leaves his friends and his fishing and his fabulous countryside and squeezes into Gramps's small, hot, noisy apartment with Mom

Overview

Sam gets used to a new home and an old relative

In the summer of 1953, nine-year-old Sam and his mom move to Brooklyn to live with his grandfather. Mom has lost her job and has no prospects back home in West Virginia. So Sam leaves his friends and his fishing and his fabulous countryside and squeezes into Gramps's small, hot, noisy apartment with Mom -- and Dad (in an urn, where he's been since dying in the war). Right away, Sam feels unwelcome. And what's to like about Brooklyn? Then he meets Tony and discovers egg creams and stickball and even a wonderful new kind of fishing. Above all, he finds that his grandfather is not a "cold, unfriendly" man -- and that it was up to Sam to reach out to him, and to figure out why people call him Bugsy.

Editorial Reviews

The Horn Book
Sam is a likable narrator, whose discovery of new territory-both geographic and emotional- will involve readers in this perfect candidate for the 'skinny books' collection: it's short, easy reading that is both well-developed and satisfying.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nine-year-old Sam narrates Bowdish's (Living with My Stepfather Is Like Living with a Moose) slice-of-life novel set in Brooklyn in 1953. "Don't step on your father," warns Sam's mother in the book's opening line. Right away readers know that she does things a bit differently, including talking to his father's ashes (kept in an urn; he died in WWII) as if she expected an answer. As the novel begins, Sam and his mother are en route from West Virginia to Gramps's Brooklyn home because she has lost her job. Once there, Sam gradually discovers that his seemingly aloof grandfather is not what he appears to be; he is beloved by the neighborhood. Bowdish peppers the narrative with descriptions of August days in the city when kids could still play stickball in the streets, pause for the occasional passing DeSoto and break for an egg cream. The author subtly weaves in the boy's growing insight into Gramps via such supporting characters as Tony, the chatty neighbor boy, and a smiling soda jerk; even the playground bully adores "Bugsy," as they call him. This quiet tale of adapting to a new home will likely offer comfort to readers faced with unexpected change. Final artwork not seen by PW. Ages 7-11. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
It's the summer of 1953 and nine-year-old Sam has a heart full of problems. He's moved from West Virginia to Brooklyn, his Grandfather seems to hate him, and his mother talks constantly to his dead father's ashes. With no friends and no place to fish, Sam faces a teen-aged gang, unfamiliar food, and a strange new game called stickball. This quiet, but engaging, chapter book recalls the relative calm and simplicity of life fifty years ago. Even the street gang is refreshingly tame. The mystery that baffles Sam and the reader most is why Gramps, alias Bugsy, ignores Sam, but is adored by every child in the neighborhood. This gentle story lacks some of the energy modern readers are accustomed to, but the warmth of the telling and Sam's playful humor are winning. Black-and-white drawings capture the "Dick and Jane" look and feel of the fifties. 2000, Farrar Straus Giroux, Ages 7 to 10, $15.00. Reviewer: Betty Hicks
School Library Journal
Gr 3-4-Sam begins his story on the train from his home in West Virginia headed to New York, with his mother and the urn containing his father's ashes. His dad died in World War II just after Sam's birth, but his wife has never fully accepted his death. After losing her job, she decides to move with her nine-year-old son to her father's apartment in Brooklyn. The boy fears that he'll miss the great outdoors and be beaten up by a gang, and he's especially worried about getting along with Gramps, who seems gruff and unapproachable. Slowly, Sam's eyes open to the possibilities for friends, fun (stoopball, stickball, egg creams), and even fishing in the ocean. He gains a new point of view about Brooklyn, and about "Bugsy"-as his grandfather is affectionately known in the neighborhood. Sam's introspective voice rings true for his age and background. His mature understanding of his mother's situation as well as the 1950s setting give this beginning chapter book a slightly sophisticated tone. Bowdish includes many period details, which are reinforced by Carpenter's frequent black-and-white illustrations. An excellent choice.-Pat Leach, Lincoln City Libraries, NE Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374309930
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
03/28/2000
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
96
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 7.92(h) x 0.52(d)
Lexile:
460L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Lynea Bowdish is the author of Living with My Stepfather Is Like Living with a Moose and lives in Hollywood, Maryland.

Nancy Carpenter, the illustrator of Darleen Bailey Beard' Twister, lives in and loves Brooklyn, New York.

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