Remembered Reading: Who is Bugs Potter?

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Posted: March 27, 2020

Category: Staff Picks

A boy in a vest holds drumsticks in the air as he stands in front of band membersWho is Bugs Potter? by Gordon Korman was originally published in 1980 and most recently re-published in 1991.

David “Bugs” Potter is among the world’s greatest drum players – just ask him. As one of Canada’s top teenage drummers, he is invited to perform as part of a pan-Canadian student orchestra in Toronto. He rooms with Adam Webb, a flautist, who Bugs quickly dubs “a flute guy.”

The preparation for the orchestra’s performance and other educational activities bore Bugs to tears. As a result, he finds other things to keep busy with, like trying to meet BiBi Lanay, a movie star staying in the same hotel.

When Bugs learns that one of his many favourite bands is performing at a nearby nightclub, he puts on a fake mustache and visits the club with Adam in tow. But instead of just watching the band perform, Bugs disappears backstage at intermission and ends up playing two songs with them. At the end of the show, Adam helps Bugs escape from his new fans, and they return to their hotel.

This pattern of mind-numbing rehearsals, schemes to meet Bibi, and covert nightclub visits repeats itself over the next few days, culminating in the orchestra’s performance.

The basic plot of Who is Bugs Potter? holds up fairly well, so why hasn’t it been reprinted in nearly 30 years?

Well, much like many other stories from that period, a number of plot points would no longer make sense in a world of cell phones and widespread Internet access.

For example, how would Bugs and Adam escape from nightclubs without their photos being captured on dozens of smartphones? How would Bugs’s parents fail to hear about an amazing drummer with the same nickname as their son causing a sensation in Toronto?

So, it has become an out-of-print period piece. Still, nearly a dozen copies of Who is Bugs Potter? are available from other libraries in TRAC.

However, if you’re looking for a more modern story owned by GPPL (and available for curbside pickup as long as we’re able to continue offering the service), you could try something like...

Emily Out of Focus by Mirian Franklin

When Emily’s family visits China to adopt her new sister, she quickly tires of the limited routine and tries to find adventures of her own, including accompanying another girl to find her birth mother.

Class Action by Steven Frank

When Sam is suspended for protesting homework, he runs into his retired lawyer neighbour, who gives him some advice for appealing the suspension. When the appeal fails, Sam’s sister browbeats the neighbour into helping them to sue the school district over homework to prevent Sam’s childhood from being entirely ruined.

Both Emily Out of Focus and Class Action are shelved upstairs, in the juvenile everyday life section of the Children’s Department.

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