Cool month! All my contenders are in non-fiction! Not sure how that bass reeveshappened but it’s delightful. Real world meets great writing and illustrations.

The Winner is–Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal by Vaunda Micheux Nelson and illustrations by R. Gregory Christie. I almost passed on this purchase as I had just added Gary Paulsen’s The Legend of Bass Reeves.

What was remarkable about Bass Reeves? Start with his life as a runaway slave and move forward for seventy years. Can’t say more without spoiling the story! 😉

The best compliment I can give a biography is that it makes me wish I had known the person. After reading Nelson and Christie’s book, I’d love to meet Marshall Reeves.

The biography is picture book format and deceptively simple without being simplistic. If you stop and imagine yourself writing it, you begin to realize how much research went into her telling. The illustrations are a perfect match.

A middle grader not ready for Paulsen’s longer version would find Nelson’s manageable and older preschoolers who are into cowboys or bad guys in the Wild West would enjoy it as a read-aloud.

Added (double) bonus? I can consider it written by a local author as Nelson lives in Northern New Mexico (and we’re in Southern Colorado). And Christie is African-American. I refuse to buy books just for those factors but I am proud to add this one to our collection on both counts.