The Righteous Revenge of Artemis Bonner
by Walter Dean Myers, HarperCollins, 1992
Activities 1998 Nancy Polette

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In 1880 two important events took place. Catfish Grimes shot dead Ugly Ned Bonner, Uncle to Artemis Bonner and Artemis headed west to avenge Uncle Ugly's death and find the gold mine left to him in his uncle's will. But Catfish wants to find the gold mine before Artemis does. Travels take the two from Mexico to Alaska and back again. Finally they meet in a shootout in front of the Birdcage Saloon. The exciting finish to this romp through the Old West is one you won't forget.
Put the words in boxes. Cut apart. Use to group or make sentences to describe the cover of the book.scoundrel, waylaid, sassafras, congestion, nugget, Artemis, bustle, homely, inferno, cantina, adobe, temperance, pistol, wretched, adversity, avenge, conestoga, fierce, frolic, rustle, ingenious, stupefied, gringo, fricasseed, scurvy, gunslinger, endeavor, promenade, arduous, proposition, vigilance, greenbacks, cowered, poultice, tolerate, drover, devious, Catfish, tenderhorn.
Journal Writing:
Include 25-30 open ended sentence starters divided appropriately by chapters. Before beginning each section, the student chooses a sentence starter to write about for ten minutes. Oral sharing follows.
Examples: Chapter One
1. A person could be considered a scoundrel when...
2. When someone "flies the coop" it means...
Higher Order Questions:
Provide six to eight higher order questions for students to discuss in small groups. Group discussions are summarized for the class. Example:
1. Define stereotype. Give examples of characters in this novel which are stereotypes. Tell why.


Chapters One and Two:
Artemis receives word of the murder of his uncle by Catfish Grimes. He travels from New York City to Tombstone, Arizona to avenge his Uncle's death. He finds his Uncle's grave marker with the epitaph: Here lives Ugly Ned Bonner. Once alive. Now a goner! Many lawmen and outlaws are associated with Tombstone...Wild Bill Hickok, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Colt Younger, Doc Holiday, Charlie Siringo. Research the life of one of these. Design a grave marker with an appropriate epitaph. Include a paragraph telling why the epitaph is appropriate. Give the source(s) of your information.
Chapters Three and Four:
Artemis chases Catfish to Albuquerque and on the train trip there he is told he looked like one of the Buffalo Soldiers, members of the Tenth Cavalry.Research this famous fighting unit. Write an acrostic poem about the
Chapters Five and Six:
Artemis is tied to a cactus and left for coyotes to eat.Research: Find out about coyotes. Record your information in a data bank putting as many items as possible under each of these headings: Lives, Eats, Has, Does, Looks Like. Use the completed Data Bank information to write a "Fact and Fable book" about coyotes.
Chapters Seven and Eight:
Artemis chases Catfish to Juarez, Mexico where everyone spoke Spanish.Prepare a Spanish/English dictionary for Artemis to help him get around. What would be important words for him to know?
Chapters Nine and Ten:
Catfish's girlfriend, Lucy Featherdip was a crack shot as she proved when she shot a pistol out of Artemis's hand. Read about another woman sharpshooter of the Old West, Annie Oakley. Report on her life as a bio-poem: Each number is a separate line.
  1. First name
  2. Four traits
  3. Related to
  4. Cares deeply about
  5. Who feels
  6. Who needs
  7. Who gives
  8. Who would like to see
  9. Resident of
Chapters Eleven through Fourteen:
Artemis travels by wagon train to San Francisco and by ship to Seattle. Use the model below to write about either city.
Let's go to long ago places
And see (Seattle's or San Francisco's) changing faces.
We will see: (List six sights)
But that's not all
(List six more sights)


Where am I?
In _______ of course.

Chapters Fifteen through Eighteen:
Throughout the novel Artemis uses many colorful expressions. What does each mean?
  1. He'd given up the ghost.
  2. An Evil doer had forced the hand of cruel fate.
  3. He had not enough decency to fill a thimble.
  4. It was hot enough to steal the ice off a dead man.
  5. He looked under the weather. etc.
Chapters Nineteen and Twenty:
In freezing Anchorage Artemis meets up with a teller of tall tales and sees the Inuit Indians.Project: Describe Anchorage as Artemis saw it using these models:
Anchorage is the color of ____________________
It looks like ____________________
It tastes like ____________________
It smells like ____________________
It sounds like ____________________
It made Artemis feel like ____________________
If I visited Anchorage today I would see _____________
And I'd ________________________________________
And ________________________________________
But I wouldn't ____________________
Because I could do that in Tombstone.(Cite the sources of your information)
Chapters Twenty-One through Twenty-Four:
Artemis and Frolic had unique meals in each place they visited. Explain why food in Juarez would be different from food in Anchorage. Prepare a menu for The President of the U.S. who will be YOUR dinner guest. You can only serve foods and use ingredients found in your state.
Chapters Twenty-Five through Twenty-Seven:
Trace the travels of Artemis on a map. Write a couplet about the most interesting place you think Artemis visited. Example:
From tall buildings to St. Patrick's steeple, New York City is full of people.