Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal
Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal

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Annotation: Retells the life of Bass Reeves, a former slave who became a deputy U.S. Marshal in the Indian Territory and was exceptional at tracking down fugitives and bringing them to justice.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #43616
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition Date: 2009
Illustrator: Christie, Gregory,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-8225-6764-4 Perma-Bound: 0-605-42123-4
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-8225-6764-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-42123-3
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2008001188
Dimensions: 30 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Nelson and Christie know the proper way to open a western th 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.
Horn Book
Tashi, the Fourth Crown Princess of her kingdom, is unhappily betrothed to Prince Ramil. Together, the two are thrust on an adventure supported by an unusual cast of characters. Filled with intrigue, humor, and romance, the story is familiar in its themes but will keep readers engaged up to the very last sentence.
Kirkus Reviews
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 legend—as 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)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 38 Reeves is an unsung hero of the American West whose honesty and sense of duty are an inspiration to all. In a frontier brimming with treachery and lawlessness, this African-American peace officer stood out as a fearless figure of unparalleled integrity, arresting more than 3,000 outlaws during his 32 years of service as a deputy U.S. marshal, all without suffering an injury. He was a former slave who became a successful farmer and family man before accepting the appointment to serve as a lawman in the Indian Territory in 1875. While Gary Paulsen's The Legend of Bass Reeves (Random, 2006) mixes fact and fiction to great effect, Nelson chooses to keep her telling as close to documented research as possible. Selected anecdotes ranging from a humorous encounter with a skunk to an intense gunfight with an outlaw provide a sense of the man's courage and character. The text is chock-full of colorful turns of phrase that will engage readers who don't "cotton to" nonfiction (a glossary of "Western Words" is included). Christie's memorable paintings convey Reeves's determination and caring, while rugged brushstrokes form the frontier terrain. Youngsters will find much to admire here. Lisa Glasscock, Columbine Public Library, Littleton, CO
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly

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.)

Word Count: 2,759
Reading Level: 5.2
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.2 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 131426 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.6 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q47561
Lexile: 860L
Guided Reading Level: T
Fountas & Pinnell: T

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.


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