Old Coyote

( 2 )

Overview

With simple beauty, Nancy Wood tells a loving story about a wise creature's last day, illuminated with masterful illustrations by Max Grafe.

Old Coyote's muzzle is turning white, and his steps are slow. He spends most of his time basking in the sun and remembering. Chasing rabbits, raising pups with Mrs. Coyote, gathering with his friends on the mountain and howling at the moon — it's been a long, full life, and he's grateful for it. But could ...

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Overview

With simple beauty, Nancy Wood tells a loving story about a wise creature's last day, illuminated with masterful illustrations by Max Grafe.

Old Coyote's muzzle is turning white, and his steps are slow. He spends most of his time basking in the sun and remembering. Chasing rabbits, raising pups with Mrs. Coyote, gathering with his friends on the mountain and howling at the moon — it's been a long, full life, and he's grateful for it. But could it be time for him to take one last journey?

Realizing that he has come to the end of his days, Old Coyote recalls many of the good things about his life.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Soft, gentle, peaceful illustrations enhance the quiet text of this story of an old coyote in his final hours on earth. Though Old Coyote drifts off to sleep on top of a mountain, the analogy is subtle enough for readers to understand he has died without many grim overtones. Old Coyote carefully says good-bye to Mrs. Coyote, assures the rabbits he will not hunt them today and kindly greets his old friends on his moonlight journey. The symbolism is congeneric to Native America folklore, and this work may be construed as such, especially from the endpapers and final double page spread where Old Coyote dreams his way into a whole new world. Appropriate for dealing with the death of a loved one, four legged or two, this book will also be helpful when adult words aren't appropriate or suitable. It is encouraging to realize our part in the endless circle of life and accept whatever small piece we may enjoy on earth. 2004, Candlewick Press, Ages 4 to 8.
—Elizabeth Young
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Old Coyote is nearing the end of his days. As he walks familiar paths, he remembers the wide open spaces before the city crept toward his home. He recalls a time when "his howl was so loud that even the earthworms up on the mountain could hear it." He can't run anymore, so he walks, even though his bones ache. He pauses for a rest beneath the old saguaro cactus and continues toward home, greeting Father Sun on his way. Finally, he arrives at his den where he and Mrs. Coyote share some tender moments. With the light from the full moon to guide him, Old Coyote heads out toward a gathering spot where he says good-bye to his animal friends. Climbing slowly to the top of a mountain, he lies down and falls asleep. All the while he is dreaming of golden days gone by, until at last he "[dreams] his way into a whole new world." This gentle and sensitive story is delivered in just the right respectful manner without being maudlin. Grafe's mixed-media illustrations were done in muted shades of brown and blue. The drawings are somewhat impressionistic, mimicking what might be seen by Old Coyote's aging eyes. A comforting tale that is suitable for helping to explain death to young children.-Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Being "as old as coyotes get," a desert veteran takes one last walk in this grave but unsentimental valedictory. Seeing his reflection in water, hearing his own weakened howl, and, most significantly, realizing that he has "forgotten where he left his dreams," Coyote bids farewell to the rabbits that fed him, the cactus that shaded him, the sun, his animal friends, and his wife, then under the full moon ascends a hill and dreams "his way into a whole new world." Grafe's scenes of a grizzled coyote moving through, and nearly blending with, a desert depicted in subdued golds and grays add calm, somber visual notes; in the end, Coyote is transformed into a shadowy, leaping shape filled with stars. The journey's measured pace allows children time to figure out what's coming, and to get used to the idea; the view of death as transformation rather than loss may provide some comfort. (Picture book. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763615444
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 7/26/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD530L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Wood is an award-winning poet, novelist, photographer, and children's book author. She has been a friend of the Taos Pueblo Indians for more than thirty years. She says that "the idea behind OLD COYOTE comes from a universal belief about the endless circle of life."

Max Grafe grew up in New Orleans. He now lives in New York City, where he works as a printmaker, painter, and illustrator. He says of OLD COYOTE, "My goal for the images was to capture the essence of the words while leaving enough room for the viewer's imagination to roam." This is Max Grafe's first full-color picture book.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2004

    ON SAYING GOODBYE

    His muzzle is turning white, his fur isn't as thick as it used to be, and his howl now as a few tremors in it, but Old Coyote's memory is as sharp as ever. He can recall when there wasn't any city near his home, and there were no highways with cars breaking speed limits. Since he can't run the way he used to Old Coyote sort of ambles along thinking about the past. He returns to the den where he lives with Mrs. Coyote. Together they think of their children and grandchildren, all 129 of them! But, he aches, he hurts. He knows he's grown old. In the way of all coyotes he tells Mrs. Coyote that he will be soon going off. She understands, and licks him on the nose. This tender tale about living a full life and then saying goodbye will help youngsters understand what the final goodbye means. It's a simple story beautifully illustrated in mixed media on paper. - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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