Tornado Jones by Trella Lamson Dick, 1953.
This book was recommended by a reader of this blog. I haven’t been able to find a copy of it myself, but the reader thoughtfully supplied a picture of the cover.
The reader says:
“I lived in North Platte Nebraska from about February of 1953 till about April of 1955. During that time a book was written by Trella Lamson Dick entitled “Tornado Jones”. Everyone in my school in North Platte read that book many many times. We all loved it. Trella Lamson Dick was born, lived and died in small town of Orleans, Nebraska, Just East and a bit South of North Platte Nebraska. I have two copies of the book one for each of my grandsons. It may be something you might look into investing in I know there are copies available.
It is about a boy whose parents had died and he lived with his Aunt on a farm. In his adventures he discovered people who were digging dirt out in a gully and a pit in the middle of prairie land and he could not figure out why. It turns out that the book is a work of fiction but it is based on fact about the determination that the ‘Jeffrey Reservoir’ East of North Platte could actually be built and would function.”
The orphan boy, Tornado Jones, also has a mystery surrounding his name. He doesn’t like to talk about it with other people, but when he makes a friend (the first one he’s ever had), Paul, he finally confides that the only clue he has to his real name is a glass bell. The secrecy surrounding his name has made him uneasy for his entire life. Tornado also believes that there is gold buried in the canyon nearby, and when he sees people digging there, he is sure that’s what they’re looking for. Paul is fascinated at the secrets Tornado confides in him, and he and Tornado team up to uncover both the secret of the gold and Tornado’s name. At the same time, Tornado’s family is worried about the beginning of the reservoir and dam, the construction of which threatens to flood the family’s home. Can they save their home or will they have to give it up in the name of progress?
This book won the Charles W. Follett Award and is actually the first in a series about Tornado Jones. There are two others.