Keep Your Eye on the Kid: The Early Years of Buster Keaton Hardcover – April 1, 2008
"A Plump and Perky Turkey" by Teresa Bateman
A witty and rhyming picture book about a clever turkey. | Learn more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Brighton (My Tour of Europe by Teddy Roosevelt Age Ten) follows the great silent actor and filmmaker Buster Keaton from his birth to vaudeville parents to his early 30s, when he emerged as a daring comic auteur. The helicopter-parented generation should find the stories of Keaton's itinerant, rough-and-tumble showbiz life tantalizing: he got his start at age three when his father literally threw him across the stage ("Keep your eye on the kid!"), and he attended only one day of school ("Yep, I got expelled for wisecracking, and that was it. I never went back. Ever"). Brighton has created many picture biographies, and this may be her best effort yet. The tough-talking first-person narration has the cadence of someone who was treated as an adult almost from birth; the detailed images evoke the mise-en-scène of silent movies and give a dreamy grace to even the most slapstick moments. Readers of any age will close the book with an itch to see Keaton's movies—or at least catch his most famous scenes on YouTube. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)
- Lexile measure : 560L
- Grade level : Kindergarten - 3
- Hardcover : 32 pages
- ISBN-10 : 159643158X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1596431584
- Dimensions : 10.33 x 0.46 x 9.66 inches
- Item Weight : 15.7 ounces
- Reading level : 5 - 8 years
- Publisher : Roaring Brook Press; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (April 1, 2008)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,835,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I was happily shocked to find that there was actually a kids picture book about Buster Keaton. But of course kids would get Keaton's comedy, more so than Charlie Chaplin because kids also don't want that sentimental stuff. They're all about action and never stoping, about falling down and getting up and falling down to get up running again, just like Buster. Kids also have that charm and natural grace, never more so than when they're being serious, pulling "The Face", a serious mug like Buster pulled for the camera.
This book gets the story of Keaton's early years right, at least it gets the legends right, as Buster himself used to tell them. The drawings by the writer Catherine Brighton are beautiful too, they remind me of something out of Little Nimo, a role that Buster would've been perfect for given that his early shorts and features were so dreamlike in their elegance.
But why oh why do the drawings of Buster not look anything like him? His face is easy enough to reference and simple enough to draw. Why is the black haired, dark eyed Keaton giving light hair and brown eyes, why does he wear some strange costume when he comes on stage as a child instead of the well documented outfit he actually wore on stage? Brighton draws Buster wearing a Little Lord Fauntleroy style suit and a bandanna on his head under his hat which looks like nothing so much as a bandage to keep his broken skull together. I found it very disturbing. And why is his best friend Roscoe Arbuckle, the comedic genius who brought Buster into films just an average looking fat man? Catherine Brighton makes no effort to capture his angelic baby face or his sparkling blue eyes.
There's no mistaking any of the architecture, the trains and the buildings, The reproduction of Keaton's sets look picture perfect, why such difficulty with the people?
Even the great Harry Houdini, who's credited by Keaton himself with giving him his "Buster" nick-name, looks like anybody off the street.
It may seem like I'm making a big deal out of nothing, and I very well may be and I was just gonna let it lie until the scene that shows Buster the night after Roscoe Arbuckle asked him to join his film troop. The legend and the story in the book says that Keaton was so captivated by the camera he asked Roscoe can he bring one home and the ever generous Arbuckle said of course. The story goes, that night Buster took the camera apart piece by piece and put it back together again, forever after having intimate knowledge of how the camera works and how to shoot and direct a motion picture. This story is repeated in all the full-length biographies and even in Keaton's autobiography. So why does the artist, when showing a close-up of his hands taking the camera apart, ignore the fact that Buster lost the first digit on his right index finger when he was about three years old? It happened the same year that the legend, repeated and illustrated in the book, of his being pulled out of his bedroom window by a tornado and landing in the middle of the street unharmed. It would only take one extra line and add to the perception of Buster being impervious to pain and damage.
Little quibbling things but since the book is so much based on illustration I think it would behove Catherine Brighton to get the illustrations correct.
Maybe I'm being too much of a film fanatic and taking apart a wonderful book that can be the first step on a lifelong love of silent films for kids and adults alike.
But if my son does become a lifelong fan like I have I want him to get the facts straight, as much as the facts are available.
Well that's enough complaining from me... go read this book and than read one, or all, of the many biographies of Buster Keaton.
As for myself I'm gonna go join my son and me up in the Damfino's, the international Buster Keaton society.
The book is about 32 pages long and comes in at a respectable 10"x 10" size.Its' dust jacket mirrors the inner books actual front and back,so if for some reason the jacket gets lost or damaged it will still retain its' original look.
Ms.Brighton has combed several sources for her research and she lists "some"(sic) on the page back.From her sources she then extrapolated them into a first person narrative,in easy to understand text and with a good flow to it throughout.
The entire volume is enchanced with the lavish illustrations included on every page which further draws the reader into the narrative world that unfolds on each page.
Not only a good book from the stand point of just being a good read for children,it is also educational along the way.And I cannot find any fault(fact wise)in the authors' narrative at all which is all the more laudable.She takes the reader from Keatons birth,to his vaudeville days,onto his teaming with Arbuckle and ending with his first successful solo foray into motion pictures.
In conclusion this is just a wonderful volume on all counts;from the easy to read and understand narrative,to the non-fictional story,to the lavish illustrations which abound throughout.Because it doesn't take literary liberties with the facts it is the perfect educational tool also.
I recommend it highly.I would also heartily recommend this volume to all Buster Keaton fans out there.In fact I predict that the day this volume goes out of print it is going to quickly become a collectors item.Keep your eyes on that book!
This is not an adult auto biography detailing someone's life and giving insight into an astonishing comedic performer.
The child will see funny pictures of another kid who they know nothing of.
An adult will come away with only an empty spot in their pocketbook.
If an adult wants to know more about the great Buster Keaton, there are many fine books that cover his life.
For a child, show them a DVD collection of some of his silents.
2 thumbs down!