Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U. S. Marshall by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, R. Gregory Christie
Sitting tall in the saddle, with a wide-brimmed black hat and twin Colt pistols on his belt, Bass Reeves seemed bigger than life. Outlaws feared him. Law-abiding citizens respected him. As a peace officer, he was cunning and fearless. When a lawbreaker heard Bass Reeves had his warrant, he knew it was the end of the trail, because Bass always got his man, dead or alive. He achieved all this in spite of whites who didn't like the notion of a black lawman. Born into slavery in 1838, Bass had a hard and violent life, but he also had a strong sense of right and wrong that others admired. When Judge Isaac Parker tried to bring law and order to the lawless Indian Territories, he chose Bass to be a deputy U.S. Marshall. Bass would quickly prove a smart choice. For three decades, Bass was the most feared and respected lawman in the territories. He made more than 3,000 arrests, and though he was a crack shot and a quick draw, he only killed fourteen men in the line of duty. The story of Bass Reeves is the story of a remarkable African American and a remarkable hero of the Old West.
Vaunda Micheaux Nelson is the author of Almost to Freedom, for which Colin Bootman won a 2003 Coretta Scott King Honor Award for illustration. Her many other children's books include both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in Rio Rancho, New Mexico R. Gregory Christie is an award-winning illustrator of many picture books, including Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth and The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children, for both of which he won a Coretta Scott King honor. His work has also appeared in the New Yorker and on music CD covers. He lives in New York City.
Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U. S. Marshall 3.8 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Did you know that, in spite of what we've seen in the movies and on TV, there were African Americans in the Old West? Bass Reeves was born around 1838 as a slave in Texas but ran away from his master during the Civil War and lived with the Native Americans in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, until after the war was over, when he settled in nearby Arkansas. However, in 1875, the U. S. government sent Judge Isaac C. Parker to bring law and order to Indian Territory. The judge hired 200 deputy marshals to track down outlaws, and Bass Reeves was one of them. Author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson describes some of the truly amazing feats that Reeves accomplished during his 32 years of service. He even captured bandit queen Belle Starr. You might also be interested to know that Gary Paulsen wrote a fictionalized account of Reeves, The Legend of Bass Reeves.
Anyone, young or old, who is interested in the Old West should really like Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves! However, beyond its connection to the wild frontier, this book, with great illustrations by R. Gregory Christie, is a good one for children generally because it describes the life of a man who exhibited admirable character in his life--dedication to duty, courage, honesty, and a strong sense of right and wrong. While it would be excellent for Black History Month, it should not be relegated to that alone but can be used at any time the period of the late 1800s in American history is studied. Features at the end include a glossary of Western terms, a timeline of Reeves's life, further reading and websites, and more information on Judge Parker and the Indian Territory, along with a note from the author on how she came to learn about Reeves. It is a fascinating story that I highly recommend.
More than 1 year ago
I don't really think that this book would be appropriate for a younger audience of children. The book was quite good I liked the red text that the author provided and the illustrations were quite rare. I enjoyed that the author provided a dictionary/translation guide in the back for some of the words that were in the book.
More than 1 year ago
This book was quite a surprise! There was not dialogue, but the red hot words that Vaunda Micheaux Nelson chose were more than entertaining! I did not know what some of the words such as "Didn't cotton to" meant. Luckily, in the back of the book, the author included a little dictionary, or translation dictionary, to help translate the words that were hard to understand the meaning of. The illustrations were all quite interesting, I would not choose this book for a younger audience, as there are guns and talk about lynching in the book. The book does a really good job at describing the life of Bass Reeves as a Deputy U.S. marshal, and how well he did his job and how true to his calling he was. The book includes an actual picture of Bass Reeves, a timeline, and also further readings and websites about Bass Reeves. This book is a true Western story about a good hearted man who loved justice.
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