Cover image for Bad news for outlaws : the remarkable life of Bass Reeves, deputy U.S. marshall
Title:
Bad news for outlaws : the remarkable life of Bass Reeves, deputy U.S. marshall
ISBN:
9780822567646
Publication Information:
Minneapolis : Carolrhoda Books, c2009.
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 31 cm.
Reading Level:
860 L Lexile
Personal Subject:
Holds:

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Book J 921 REEVES 1 1
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Summary

Summary

Coretta Scott King Author Award
Read about the fascinating life of Bass Reeves, who escaped slavery to become the first African American Deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi.
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 US Marshal. 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.


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

With lively language and anecdotes, Nelson (Juneteenth) chronicles the life of African-American lawman Bass Reeves in a biography that elevates him to folk hero. The story opens with an action-packed sequence leading to Reeves killing criminal Jim Webb. The second spread has readers staring down the barrel of Reeves's rifle, in an attention-grabbing, somewhat unsettling closeup. As Webb lay dying, he "gave Bass his revolver out of respect. Bass buried Webb's body and turned in the outlaw's boots and gun belt as proof he'd gotten his man." Christie's (Yesterday I Had the Blues) dynamic full-page oil paintings portray a somber, statuesque Reeves, his big eyes shining from under the brim of his deputy's hat. The folksy language is heavy with simile ("Bass took to guns like a bear to honey") and jargon (vittles, slack-jawed cowpoke), inviting a drawly reading. It's an arresting portrait of a man who rose from escaped slave in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) to become a federal marshal who made thousands of arrests, including his own son, but killed only 14 men. A glossary, bibliography, time line and other source material are included. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Horn Book Review

(Intermediate) Bass Reeves's life is the stuff from which legends are made. Born a slave, he escaped to Indian Territory (now known as Oklahoma), captured over three thousand men and women as a deputy U.S. marshal, and spent his few years of retirement on a small-town police force. Reeves, as a fellow sharpshooter once said, "could shoot the left hind leg off a contented fly sitting on a mule's ear at a hundred yards and never ruffle a hair," and was a man of such honor that he arrested his own son for murder. This captivating biography, told in language as colorful as Reeves's career, grabs readers with an 1884 gunfight, then flashes back to Reeves's early life and continues until his death. Section headings ("Slave Days, 1840s-1860s"; "Freedom and Family, Late 1860s-1874") underscore the chronology, while boldfaced subheadings provide a textbook lesson on how topic sentences work. Typically, the subheadings offer an opinion ("Bass was respected, and he was hated") followed by a paragraph or two of supporting information. Accentuated with a palette knife, Christie's sharply textured paintings create an impressionist background of an unformed land as well as detailed portraits of this multi-dimensional individual, his bold black hat conveying unmistakable authority. Includes documentation, a glossary, a timeline, recommended readings and bibliography, and historical author notes. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

Nelson and Christie know the proper way to open a western with a showdown. Young readers first see outlaw Jim Webb bursting through a glass window; then lawman Bass Reeves' eye sighting down the barrel of his Winchester rifle. After that, kids will have no trouble loping into this picture-book biography. Born a slave, Reeves became one of the most feared and respected Deputy U.S. Marshals to tame the West. Nelson's anecdotal account gives this criminally overlooked frontier hero the same justice that Gary Paulsen did in his book for slightly older readers, The Legend of Bass Reeves (2006). The text, especially, gets into the tall-tale spirit of things ( Bass had a big job. And it suited him right down to the ground. Everything about him was big. ), while the dramatic scenes captured in Christie's stately artwork promise revisitations to the lawman's story. An exciting subject captured with narrative panache and visual swagger, Bass Reeves stands to finally gain his share of adulation from kids drawn to the rough-and-tumble Old West.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2009 Booklist


School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5 Bass Reeves was a big man: he was tall, sported a bushy moustache, and rode a giant horse. Born a slave, he became one of the most dreaded Deputy U.S. Marshals of the old West, with over 3,000 arrests, including that of his own son. Free interprets Nelson's exciting story, featuring Christie's robust illustrations, with sturdy pacing and just the right amount of tonal gravity to showcase Reeves's forthright personality. This Wild West story packs a lot of history. Standard: Students will recognize how diverse individuals have changed their communities. Instructional extension: Discover more about Bass Reeves at the Oklahoma Historical Society's online Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History: http://digital.library.okstate.edu/encyclopedia/entries/ R/RE020.html. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

He rode tall in the saddle and excelled at riding, shooting, tracking and every other skill required of a man representing the law in the vast and often lawless American frontier known as Indian Territory in the late 1800s. Born into slavery in Texas, he fled from his owner during the Civil War and lived with Indians, honing his skills until he was chosen for what turned out to be a very long and very successful career as a deputy U.S. Marshal. Nelson's well-researched biography reads much like a tall tale or frontier legendas well it should: "Outlaws learned that when Marshal Reeves had your warrant, you were as good as got." Christie's bold full-page paintings echo the heroic spirit. The text is frequently laid out in the style of old-time wanted posters on yellowing paper. Gary Paulsen's The Legend of Bass Reeves (2006) previously presented his life as a novel. Here, children can saddle up with a genuine Western hero in a narrative that hits the bull's-eye. (glossary, timeline, bibliography, notes) (Picture book/biography. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.