My Summers With Buster

Graphic Novel - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Random House, Inc.
Matt Phelan, graphic novelist extraordinaire, presents a rollicking tribute to vaudeville, small-town dreams, and Buster Keaton as a boy.

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.

Publisher: Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2013
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780763687069
Branch Call Number: J GN BLUFFTON
Characteristics: 223 p. : ill.; 21 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

CRRL_CraigGraziano Jun 25, 2015

Phelan's work is intentionally quiet. There are long stretches without text, allowing us to follow the story through his lovingly crafted watercolor images. It is not surprising that Phelan finds a muse in Buster Keaton, one of the greatest silent filmmakers of all time.

Read more at:

BCD2013 Jun 12, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
When his town becomes the summer retreat for a troupe of vaudevillians, a young boy befriends twelve-year-old Buster Keaton, who will one day become a silent film star legend.

Mar 27, 2014

I had started then stopped this book. Why? It simply didn't hold my interest and the illustrations were, at best, bland. So I decided to go back and read it with an open mind. This is about a young boy who grows up and one of his companions is Buster Keaton. Buster Keaton was a real person, with a facinating horrible life. This book however simply touches on the fact that he came to a town and was the companion of the young man. They are not friends. The young man is jealous of him, they played baseball together but that's about the depth of their relationship. I did research on Buster Keaton afterwards. And found out what a influential but tragic life he had. The book drops facts about who he was but glosses over the abuses that he suffered. Usually when a book prompts me to do research on a person I enjoy it; this time I did not.

Jan 08, 2014

Set in the early 1900s this tells the story of the main character's friendship with Buster Keaton when he was a child traveling as part of his parents act.

Mostly illustrations, which tell the story. Done well and a nice introduction to Buster Keaton in a unique way.

JCLChrisK Nov 26, 2013

This is a beautifully painted graphic novel, using watercolor washes that manage to be both subdued and dynamic at the same time. The faces and figures that appear in every frame are always lifelike, expressive, and dynamic, often rendering words unnecessary. ----- The story centers on a boy in a small town who is bored with the blandness of everyday life, dreaming of big, flashy entertainments. He is absolutely thrilled to learn that many famous vaudeville entertainers have decided to start vacationing each summer from their life of traveling shows at the edge of his town. The other townspeople get over the novelty of their new neighbors quickly, but the thrill never wears off for Henry. Most central to his happiness is the friendship he develops with the similarly-aged Buster Keaton, and they spend nearly every day hanging out together. Through Henry's eyes, we learn about Keaton's pre-Hollywood childhood--how children's rights activists hounded Buster's father for keeping him out of school, for instance--and a fascinating slice of history. It's a quietly engaging story.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at ELPL

To Top