Posts tagged wild west
A word of warning: don’t let the cover fool you–this book is really fun!
Newbery Award-winning author Naylor sets off on a tale in the untamed west where Emily, a recently orphaned girl who has inherited an unexpected fortune, attempts to escape her greedy, conniving Uncle Victor. Though timid and used to sitting quietly indoors all day, she grits her teeth and sets off in a coach (with her trusty pet turtle in hand), hoping to live with her distant but kind-hearted aunt. Along the way Emily meets Jackson, an orphan and a street urchin, and together they find themselves running for their lives and working together to befuddle Uncle Victor. In Emily’s adventures she learns how to climb tall trees, sleep outdoors, and disguise herself as a boy, all the while growing from meek to self-sufficient, and it’s a fun transition to witness.
Fun illustrations appear throughout the text, as do enlarged captions and Wild West “rootin’ tootin’” phrases (such as “blinkin’ bloomers”) that lead readers from one chapter to the next. Naylor keeps the action fun and her characters funny, elaborating on genteel ladies as they complain about bumpy wagon rides and overly ambitious child-services agents. With smart, quirky character names like “Miss Catchum” of the Catchum Child-Catching Services and Emily’s helpful neighbors—Mrs. Ready, Mrs. Aim, and Mrs. Fire—Naylor maintains the ride throughout, keeping it entertaining. With the southern dialogue and western “slang”, it would make for a great class read-aloud. It’s a book that shows just how strong and smart a little girl can become without being too girly—and really, anyone who learns to appreciate a good tree climbing while “hootin’ and hollerin’” is a-okay by me! (more…)
Bass Reeves was born in 1838 and is thought to be one of the first African-Americans to be commissioned as a Deputy US Marshal. For the first 17 years of his life, he was a slave “owned” by his master George Reeves (as far as I know, no relation to the George Reeves of Superman fame), a farmer. Just before the Civil War, Bass parted ways with his master and ran to Indian Territory, where he lived among the Creek and Seminole Indians for about 20 years. Later he moved to Arkansas, where he married twice and had 10+ children. There he was approached by the well-known Judge Isaac Parker (aka the Hanging Judge), who heard about his life living in Indian Territory. Bass Reeves spoke many Indian dialects and knew the land intimately. During his time as a lawman, he pursued and caught many a criminal using unique methods for the time. He would go undercover and disguise himself to catch his man. He even had to dress up as a woman at one point. He had to track down and arrest his own son for murder. During his 30+ years of service, he was shot at many times, but never hit. He became a constable at the ripe old age of 81. Bass Reeves was a well-respected and feared lawman of his time. A lot of his history still remains a mystery, but what is know about him is this…he was honorable, steadfast, feared, and respected. Bass was truly worthy of legendary status. In the words of US Marshal Leo Bennet, “He never shirked his duty.” (more…)