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Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones Hardcover – November 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Series: AWARDS: 2010-11 YARP South Dakota Reading List Middle School
  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Front Street, Incorporated; First Edition edition (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590786378
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590786376
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,904,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—Prometheus Jones, born to a Tennessee slave on the same day Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, has always had good luck, and, at age 13, he wins a horse in a raffle. Before she died, "Mama always told I was the luckiest child on earth. Might ride that horse clear to Texas and never look back." Indeed, Prometheus uses his newly acquired transportation to flee the racist rednecks who accuse him of stealing the raffle ticket. Because of his exceptional skill with horses, he and his sidekick cousin are invited to join a cattle drive to South Dakota. Along the way, they get a taste of the Wild West during the time of Manifest Destiny, Indian wars, and gold rush prospectors. Inspired by the autobiography of African-American cowboy Nat Love, this notable Western shows a side of cowboy life rarely depicted: the diversity found among one of the few groups at the time that valued a man's talents over the color of his skin. Hemphill's convincing vernacular narration and well-researched, hard-bitten details of life in the South and on the western range give this adventure story surprising depth. The fast-paced plot, punctuated by Prometheus's astonishing wins and losses, will lasso readers' interest.—Madeline Walton-Hadlock, San Jose Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Though himself a free man, Prometheus Jones’ father was a slave who was sold away from his family. Now 13, Prometheus is determined to find the man he thinks of as “Mr. Jones” and—in April 1876—signs aboard a cattle drive that he hopes will ultimately take him to Texas and the reunion he longs for. In the meantime, however, the drive is headed north, through Indian country, bound for Deadwood in the Dakota Territory. Inspired in part by the real-life adventures of Nat Love, arguably the most famous of the nineteenth century’s African American cowboys, Hemphill’s novel offers a carefully researched look at the often uneasy circumstances of a black teenager on the American frontier. Prometheus is an always sympathetic and engaging character, and the dangers and misadventures he encounters en route to Deadwood make for compelling reading. True, what he finds there may strain some readers’ credulity—and feels a bit rushed in the bargain—but most will welcome the stirring, action-packed conclusion to Prometheus’ quest. Grades 7-12. --Michael Cart

More About the Author

Hailed as "a strong new voice in children's literature" by Kirkus Reviews, Helen Hemphill's debut novel Long Gone Daddy won the Teddy Award for young adult fiction from the Writers' League of Texas and was named to the New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age. Booklist named her novel Runaround a Top Ten Youth Romance for 2007, and Book Links offered it as one of 2007's Best New Books for the Classroom. Her most recent book for middle school readers, The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones, was the recipient of the Virginia M. Law Award for the "most distinguished book of 2008 for young adults" by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library; and was named to VOYA's 2009 Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers, Best Books 2009, Nebraska Library Association; Best Children's Books, Bank State College; South Dakota Young Adult Reading Program List, Kansas State Reading Circle 2009 Recommended Reading List; and to the Winter 2008-09 Kid's Indie Next list.

Helen is a graduate of the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College. Visit her on the web at

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julie on November 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Readers will be lassoed into this cowboy novel immediately. Prometheus Jones, an African-American boy who gets the heck out of the South during reconstruction, signs on with his cousin to drive cattle West. Between scrapes with fate and nature, the characters find adventure at every turn whether fighting rivers or protecting their camps in the dark. It's a book that parents and grandparents can feel confident in giving as a gift to boys 10-years-old and up and teachers can choose to help students learn about an era in American history that is less well-known now that Gun Smoke is off the air and John Wayne Westerns are more than a generation old. It's also a fascinating look at something rarely written about for kids -- African American and Hispanic cowboys riding, working, eating and sleeping along side their white counterparts in the late 1800s.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on October 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Prometheus Jones (gotta love his name!) is a young black boy turned cowboy. After the death of his mother and the luck of winning a one-eyed horse, Prometheus heads west along with his eleven-year-old cousin named Omer. Prometheus has headed to Texas to find the father he never knew.

THE ADVENTUROUS DEEDS OF DEADWOOD JONES doesn't hesitate to describe the rough and often dangerous life of the cowboy. The two young cowboys get themselves jobs with a cattle driving company and the adventure begins. There is enough cattle roping, gun slinging, and run-ins with Indians to satisfy the wildest western lover. Readers will learn about the dangers of stampeding cattle, swimming rushing rivers, and facing the possibility of being scalped by the Sioux.

Author Helen Hemphill offers something a bit different than the usual YA material. Her description of being a black cowboy in a world of mostly white cattle-drivers provides an interesting historical perspective most books don't include. Also, the fact that the hard-working, courageous characters are quite young compared to modern-day working teens provides not only entertainment, but also a heads-up that today's kids don't have it so bad at all.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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By D. S. Jones on February 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Year's ago, I used to read lot's of western's, this one's on a par, to many of the type, I read. Full of adventurous deed's.

D. S. Jones
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