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Posted June 23, 2011
Coyote starts his day between a high ledge facing a rough river and an upset bear. He tried to eat the hibernating bear's food and awoke the bear. The bear is getting closer and closer, angrier and angrier. Two choices lie at Coyote's feet. He can duck the bear and try to outrun him down the road, or he can take a long jump into the water below.
Guess what? You must decide for Coyote, because he will not make a choice. So, which way do you send Coyote? One way may turn out great for Coyote, giving him food or fun, which is what he is looking to find. The other way may send Coyote into a dangerous spot from which he cannot get out. Sometimes there is even a third choice, which can be either good or bad, maybe both? That is the concept of Tricky Coyote Tales. He gets into messes and you try to get him out.
There are 6 short tales, and 18 possible endings, all based on your choices. Coyote runs into all sorts of creatures, big and small, short and tall. Coyote, and you, will run up against wildcats, eagles, giant wasps, hill monsters, buzzards, stick bugs, beavers, moles, salmon, squirrels, bears, and prairie dogs. The story could be very short or several pages long - it is all up to you!
In the back, the author explains that the Tricky Coyote Tales originated with Native American folklores. They believed the coyote was a trickster, rather than a jokester looking for fun and the coyotes are responsible for the way many animals look today. Native Americans also believed the coyote helps humanity by stealing things such as fire, and leaving it behind for human's use. Examples given are from three tribes: The Lakota Tribe, The Karuk Tribe of California, and The Apache. Do not forget to read about each tribe's folklore.
I really enjoyed this book - several times - and think most middle graders will enjoy reading, and then sharing, the stories they "create." This is a great interactive story that can keep a kid laughing and reading. Heck, I'm still reading.
"Coyote do not move . . . no, no, not that page! Where did he go? Aw, Coyote!" Sorry. Now that I'm done . . . go get the book and help a coyote friend.
Note: received from netgalley, courtesy of the publisher