Gr 2-4-Coyote makes mischief in this original story set in the American Southwest and illustrated in striking, softly shaded pastel colors. A Maker-of-all-things, modeled after a Pueblo tale of Thinking Woman, brings all creation into being, from the earth and sun to animals and humankind, by speaking their names. As she rests, her creatures have only to use her magic words to satisfy their wants. Coyote is soon bored, however, and goes about causing dissension in this perfect world. When the Maker awakens, she angrily takes away the magic, leaving the people to toil on their own, except when Coyote tells stories. While the character and illustrations of coyote are of particular interest here, what may surprise readers is the depiction of a female Creator. Since the tale illustrates the power of storytelling, it will make a suitable addition to a teller's repertoire as well as an appealing selection for independent reading.-Yvonne Frey, Peoria Public Schools, IL
Because the "Maker-of-all-things spoke the world into being," all words are magic. When creatures are hungry, thirsty, or tired, they simply speak and their needs are met. But Coyote, bored with this simple existence, sets the creatures against each other, and the resulting racket wakes the Maker-of-all-things. She decides that the creatures must work and wait for what they need, but she leaves them magic words for storytelling. Although Coyote, the trickster figure central to much Native American lore, is featured here, this is an original (not based on legend or myth), which incorporates elements of southwestern folklore. It is a simple but satisfying tale, with pastel illustrations that fill the pages with color and nicely reflect the story's tone and action.