A Coyote's in the House

A Coyote's in the House

4.9 11
by Elmore Leonard, Neil Patrick Harris

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Buddy's an aging movie star. Antwan's a rough-and-tumble loner. And Miss Betty, the show girl, is a princess. Different in nearly every way, they share one thing: they're all dogs ... at heart.

Antwan's too curious a coyote to turn down Buddy's invitation to see how the other half lives. Convincing his new human family he's a mysterious pooch named Timmy,


Buddy's an aging movie star. Antwan's a rough-and-tumble loner. And Miss Betty, the show girl, is a princess. Different in nearly every way, they share one thing: they're all dogs ... at heart.

Antwan's too curious a coyote to turn down Buddy's invitation to see how the other half lives. Convincing his new human family he's a mysterious pooch named Timmy, Antwan quickly becomes part of the brood. But as Antwan's star rises, Buddy's spirits fall. To cheer up their pal, Antwan and Miss Betty concoct a daring plan, setting off a chain of uproarious adventures that will teach them all a few new tricks about friendship, family, and life.

A Coyote's in the House reveals the inner life of canines — wild and domesticated — in a fresh, funny tale for the young and the young at heart.

Performed by Neil Patrick Harris

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Leonard knows a thing or two about movies (he's seen 18 of his novels make it to the big screen, including Get Shorty and Jackie Brown), and he sets his entertaining debut children's book in the Hollywood hills. German shepherd Buddy, the canine star of movies such as Buddy to the Rescue, helped put his human family in the lap of luxury. But now that he's retired, life in his suburban home seems to revolve around a pampered poodle named Miss Betty-and Buddy is bored of playing second fiddle. Enter Antwan, a wild coyote whose passion for food is matched by his disdain for domesticated pets ("The dog's forgot who he is. Thinks he's only supposed to do what his master wants," Antwan says the first time he spies Buddy in a nearby park). Antwan and Buddy approach each other with caution at first, and even threaten to butt heads. But they soon come to respect each other-and decide to trade places. The adventure may be slim and the plot travels familiar ground, but the dialogue sparkles and allows Leonard to satirize domestic life ("You too used to food comes out of a bag," he lectures Miss Betty, "That's what I'd call being housebroken, not the other thing, peeing on the carpet.... [Y]ou've lost your taste for regular food"). Black-and-red illustrations throughout resemble film stills-perhaps the book will be Buddy's ticket back to the big screen? Ages 10-up. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
The best-selling author of mystery and western novels tries his hand at literature for younger readers in this humorous tale about a curious coyote. Antwan, the streetwise leader of a coyote pack, wants to know how domesticated canines live. He meets an aging German shepherd and former movie star named Buddy and a beautiful poodle, Miss Betty, who conspire to have him move into their house. They teach him how to pass himself off as a dog, and "Timmy," as he comes to be known, starts to get so much attention that Buddy becomes depressed. To cheer him up by reminding him of his heroic acting stunts, Antwan and Miss Betty come up with a plan to kidnap a Persian cat so that Buddy can save her, but all goes wrong. In the end, of course, Buddy proves his heroism in a different way, and Antwan returns to the hills. Leonard's dialogue crackles realistically, as always, but the plot is somewhat strained, and younger readers may not care about the movie references, or even get them. Still, this is a light entertainment that dog lovers in particular will enjoy. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2004, HarperCollins, 160p. illus., Ages 12 to 15.
—Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Leonard's knack for creating intriguing, strong characters is evident in his first children's book. While chasing down his latest meal, Antwan, a hip-talking coyote, makes his way into a Hollywood home, where he meets two dogs-Buddy, an aging film star, and Miss Betty, a champion poodle. In a reversal of roles, Buddy decides that living in the Hollywood Hills as a wild dog with Antwan's homeboys would suit him just fine and he talks the coyote into taking his place as a pampered pet. He comes up with a plan to convince his owners that Antwan is actually a stray dog, and the coyote is soon adopted. After many misadventures and subplots, including Miss Betty's scheme to kidnap a cat for Buddy to rescue in order to help the German shepherd overcome his feelings of being a has-been, the animals land back in their original location, feeling content with the way things have ended. Leonard's enlightening descriptions of the movie business may please adults more than youngsters, but all readers will delight in the growing friendship among the characters. Humorous black-and-white drawings with red accents-Buddy's film trademark is a red bandanna-add further interest.-Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The author of Get Shorty turns to children's books with a character study of three very different types. Antwan is a Hollywood Hills coyote who talks like he's straight from the 'hood; Buddy is a German shepherd, a former movie star whose light has gone dim; Miss Betty is the show poodle who lives with Buddy. When Antwan chases a mouse into Buddy and Miss Betty's back yard, he ends up moving right in-the idea is that he and Buddy are going to trade experiences, he as a pampered house pet and Buddy as a wild dog of the hills. Leonard's characterization is both broad and gentle: each canine begins as a stereotype, but it soon becomes apparent that all three have become the roles they play in life, and it's the growing friendship that allows each to explore different personae. The plot meanders a bit, with a catnapping and a movie audition thrown in to complicate the relationships, but in the end, it's a cheerful and ultimately bittersweet look at how life choices shape who we are. Good fun. (Fiction. 9-13)
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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Unabridged, 3 CDs, 3 hours
Product dimensions:
13.66(w) x 9.32(h) x 0.34(d)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

Read an Excerpt

A Coyote's in the House

By Elmore Leonard


ISBN: 0-06-054404-X

Chapter One

Here was Antwan, living the life of a young coyote up in the Hollywood Hills, loving it, but careful to keep out of the way of humans.

Humans were crazy. Some would feed you, some would shoot at you for no reason. Yell at coyotes, "Go on back where you came from." But this was where they came from. They had lived in these hills the past forty thousand years or so. It was their turf.

All Antwan and his gang wanted to do was hang with the pack, goof around, groom each other for ticks and fleas, flirt with the sisters and mostly chase after what ever kinds of creatures were out of their holes. Mice were the most fun, 'cause you could play with 'em before you ate 'em.

Mice ate crickets and crunchy bugs, and coyotes ate mice. It wasn't to be mean or cruel. It was what the law of nature told you to do if you were a coyote. The same as when they went after possums and raccoons, or rabbits hippity-hopping down the bunny trail. Even kitty cats and little doggies humans kept as pets, they were all on the coyote food list, okay to eat.

Understand, if the mice or other creatures were hiding out in their holes or off looking for food, then Antwan and his gang would have to go looking for it, too.

Go to where humans lived, down back of their houses where they kept their trash cans. It was dangerous 'cause you had to look out for humans. Some even tried to run over you with their cars. But if they didn't build their houses right here, Antwan and his gang wouldn't be going through their garbage.

Antwan was the leader of the gang, known as the Howling Diablos, because he was the smartest and the fastest of all the young coyotes. The Diablos were pretty sure that in time, say in a year or so, Antwan would be the one to tussle with Cletus, the pack leader, and run the old dude off. Then Antwan would be the head of the whole pack and have his pick of the bitches. He'd choose the one he'd like to hang with the rest of his life and have his pups.

Right now Antwan was busy looking after his little sister, Ramona, seeing she didn't get in trouble. Ramona was dying to join the Diablos, but hadn't yet learned enough about life in the wild to run with the big boys.

Antwan was teaching her.

Saturday afternoons he'd take Ramona to a dog park over in another part of the hills, a good place to show his sister the different breeds of dogs there were in the world, the ones easy to snatch and eat and the ones you didn't want to mess with. Antwan and Ramona would crouch in the bushes, up on the side of the canyon, and look down at the humans and their pets, some coming up the mile-long trail from Hollywood, while others were walking down: all kinds of dogs passing both ways. It was like a show.

"Here comes a working dog, a Border collie," Antwan said, "only he's out of work. Rides around Hollywood in his own er's car looking for sheep to herd." "I know what collies look like," Ramona said. "They have that long, pointy face."

"Other dogs do, too," Antwan said. "Your borzois, your Afghan hounds.... What's that white one coming?"

"A greyhound?"

"You're close, but it's a saluki."

"What's it do?"

"Lays around the house thinking it's somebody."

Ramona said, "I know greyhounds chase rabbits."

"Yeah, toy ones," Antwan said. "They chase 'em around a racetrack and humans bet money on which one's gonna win."

Ramona wouldn't know what he was talking about. It took time to learn all the weird things dogs had to do. Antwan said now, "Here come some more working dogs, like the collie. That black one's a Bouvier and the little shorty's a corgi. Put them out on a farm they can't wait to start herding sheep, or even geese. That make sense to you, having to work? It's hard to believe coyotes and dogs are in the same family, dogs having sold out, gone over to the human side. They're more like them than they are us."

Antwan said now, "Here comes a hunting dog, a pointer. He points to where the game bird's hiding - like a pheasant, the one with the long tail? And the human shoots the bird as it flies up in the air."

"So the pointer's like somebody that tattles on you," Ramona said, "a snitch." "That's right, honey," Antwan said, "you're learning your breeds. What's that one with the big floppy ears?"

"A bloodhound."

"And what's he do?"

"Catches your scent and sniffs after you."

"That dog's so dumb," Antwan said, "he'll track you all day and all night for a treat and a pat on the head. All these dogs, they'll do tricks, sit up and roll over, to get a treat put in their mouth."

"I never had one," Ramona said.

"A treat? You haven't missed anything. Okay, what's that dog - you see him down there taking a pee?"

"A German shepherd."

"Wrong. It's a Siberian husky, tough as they come. He'll sleep outside all night in the snow and pull a sled all day."

"What's snow?"

"That white stuff you see on top of Mt. Wilson." He waited for Ramona to ask him what a sled was.

But Ramona was looking at a dog with big droopy ears and a long black coat to the ground. She said, "What's that one?"

"Some kind of spaniel," Antwan said. "A human shoots a duck out of the sky, it falls in the lake and that retriever dog swims out and fetches it. Doesn't mind getting wet. Only around here it doesn't do nothing but sleep and get food handed to it."

Ramona said, "What's wrong with that?"

And Antwan said, "Could you lay around all day? Never hunt your own food? Come up here to be shown off? What good would you be, to the pack or to yourself?"

"I could have fun playing," Ramona said, looking at a boy with a Chihuahua jumping up at him, "like that little one there."

"You want to be known as a toy?" Antwan said. "That's all that dog is. There's some more, the Lhasa Apso and that lowrider they call a dachshund - looks like a sausage and smells like it, too. They're tasty enough, but give me a rabbit or a half dozen mice for breakfast any day."

Now Ramona was watching a human throwing a ball to his dog standing above him on the trail, the dog catching the ball in his mouth, then dropping it to roll down the slope to the human. She said, "Antwan, look how smart that dog is."


Excerpted from A Coyote's in the House by Elmore Leonard Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Elmore Leonard has written more than forty books during his highly successful writing career, and many of his novels have been made into movies. Leonard is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He lives in Bloomfield Village, Michigan.

Brief Biography

Bloomfield Village, Michigan
Date of Birth:
October 11, 1925
Place of Birth:
New Orleans, Louisiana
B.Ph., University of Detroit, 1950

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Coyote's in the House 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
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Rayman More than 1 year ago
I first read this book during my elemantry years. My dad reads a lot of Elmore Leonard books and said that this was a childs book that I should read. When I started reading I immediatley fell in love with the plot, characters, pictures, and the overall feel you have when reading it. This book was GREAT and I think dog lover or no dog lover will be very pleased with this book once they've read. TRULY A MAGNIFICENT BOOK FROM A GIFTED WRITER.

Note: Much of my recommendations are for young readers except for maybe, the Eragon series. Still all of these I believe are great reads for all ages. I'm in 8'th grade--- trust me I know.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing! The characters are well developed and the writing is superb. Mr. Leonard MUST write a sequel!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great for all ages and the pictures are amazing! When I read this book I couldn't wait to turn the page, so cool! I recommened this book to people who have a great love for dogs/coyotes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We'll just have to face it - some writers are so deft that they can switch genres as easily as changing jackets. That seems to be the case with Elmore Leonard who after winning legions of adult fans has now set about capturing the younger generation. He'll probably do it with 'A Coyote's In The House, a delicious animal fable set in Hollywood. It's not easy being the voice of animals but performer Neil Patrick Harris is superb as listeners hear the story of Buddy, a past his prime German shepherd movie star; Antwan, a lone coyote who's always been down on his luck; and the gorgeous Miss Betty, a pulchritudinous poodle. Late one evening Antwan is poking among tempting garbage in the Hollywood Hills. Surely he'll find a more than appetizing meal there. Instead, he meets Buddy. A little bit bored and discouraged Buddy thinks it would be exciting to live as Antwan does, so why don't the two switch places? Well, Antwan has never been a cosseted coyote, so that sounds like a good deal to him. The rub is in passing Antwan off as a dog. But, it works. You know the old saying about the grass always looking greener - Buddy soon decides that he misses his family, and he sure doesn't like not having any attention at all. Leave it to Leonard to come up with a satisfying conclusion for all. Listen, laugh, and enjoy. - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think you should write a sequel so we can know what happened to Antwan. Did he get shot, or did he get away? Nice work!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was great fun to read, especially for a dog lover and literature teacher like me. I will recommend it to all my students.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! It is excellent for doglovers! It is a very fun book to read. This is on my favoriteslist for sure! I hope you like it as much as I did!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful funny book that is great for the whole family!!!