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Coyote: A Trickster Tale from the American Southwest

Press:Harcourt Childrens Books Harcourt Children's Books; 1st edition (September 14, 1994)
Publication Date:1994-9
Author Name:McDermott, Gerald


Coyote finds trouble wherever he goes. 
Now he wants to sing, dance, and fly like the crows, so he begs them to teach him how.
The crows, however, decide to teach Coyote a lesson instead.
This is the third volume in Gerald McDermott’s series of Trickster Tales.
“Bold shapes and expansive double spreads (as well as an economically pared text) recommend the book for story hours large or small; pair it with McDermott’s more mystical Raven for some vibrant cross-cultural contrast.”--The Bulletin

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2-A short, uncomplicated story in which Coyote decides he wants to fly with the crows. 
They humor him, give him feathers, and tolerate his offkey singing and out-of-step dancing, until he begins to boast and order them about.
Then, as Coyote struggles in midair, they take back their feathers one by one and he plummets to earth.
His tail catches fire, and he tumbles into the dirt.
To this day he is the color of dust and his tail has a burnt, black tip.
The full-page illustrations, executed in gouache, colored pencil, and pastels, are brilliantly colored, with bold patterns, angular forms, and orange backgrounds.
Children will enjoy the visual portrayal of Coyote, who is blue, vain, eager, and heedless of consequences, and they will laugh at the pictures of the various troubles he gets himself into at the start of the book.
Although the art communicates Coyote's vivid personality, the story is not as charming as some of McDermott's other trickster tales.
There is less cleverness, humor, and buoyancy, and more antagonism, in this story.
Coyote is a troublemaker, of course, but his antics often make readers laugh.
Also, he seems less fully realized than some of the author's previous characters.
Still, the book provides an introduction to an important folklore character and is strikingly illustrated.
There are no notes on the story's source, but McDermott does provide a note on Coyote and refers to the people of the Pueblo of Zuni as excelling in telling Coyote tales.Marilyn Iarusso, New York Public LibraryCopyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 2-5. 
McDermott's 1994 Caldecott Honor Book, Raven, is about the trickster-hero.
Here McDermott turns to the trickster-fool character so common in Native American folklore.
Coyote is a big, bumbling, interfering copycat; he's rude, boastful, vain, and always in trouble.
The storytelling is simple, with the casual, direct tone and satisfying repetition of the oral tradition ("He was going along, following his nose.
He had a nose for trouble .
Coyote was always in trouble").
The art combines traditional geometric design with the jagged figure of Coyote, all exaggerated pointed shapes in brilliant blue with a lolling red tongue.
He cavorts against a background of warm rust-brown desert; he tries to fly with the beautifully synchronized black-and-purple crows who circle the canyon and soar in the sky.
Of course, he falls ignominiously into the dust.
And to this day, "He has a nose for trouble.
He always finds it." This is great for storytelling: kids will love the slapstick action and the bright, comic art about this gawky fool.
As McDermott points out in the lively source note, Coyote is very foolish--and very human.
Hazel Rochman


"Kids will love the action and the brilliantly colored art."--Sesame Street Parents"A splendid tale, perfectly paced for an amusing read-aloud."--Publishers Weekly"This is great for story-telling: kids will love the slapstick action and the bright, comic art."--Booklist"Lively, visually splendid, and sure to appeal."--Kirkus ReviewKids will love the action and the brilliantly colored art. 
Sesame Street Parents A splendid tale, perfectly paced for an amusing read-aloud.
Publishers Weekly This is great for story-telling: kids will love the slapstick action and the bright, comic art.
Booklist Lively, visually splendid, and sure to appeal.
Kirkus Review"

--This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

About the Author

GERALD MCDERMOTT (1941-2012) was an internationally acclaimed author-illustrator and the creator of numerous award-winning books and animated films for children. 
Winner of the Caldecott Medal and two Caldecott Honors for his picture books, he was also a consultant to the Joseph Campbell Foundation on mythology in education. His acclaimed series of trickster tales consists of Raven (a Caldecott Honor Book), Zomo the Rabbit, Coyote, Jabuti, Pig-Boy, and Monkey, each of which draws from the folktale traditions of a different part of the world. www.geraldmcdermott.com


Children's Books,Fairy Tales, Folk Tales & Myths,United States,Multicultural,Literature & Fiction

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Comment List (Total:15)

  •     Being an admirer of Coyotes since my childhood in Kansas, and with my farmer-philosopher father noting their beneficial role in controlling jack rabbit populations, and loving their calls in the evening from three corners in my square-mile world--timberwolves managed the fourth corner--I simply have high regard for prairie coyotes slight-ness and voices. Accused of all sorts of mayhem, I suspect were not of their doing. No wonder the native Americans honored their survival skills amid their bigger brothers.

  •     Along with the rest of McDermontt's books; the kids really enjoy these animal tales.

  •     always like reading McDermott stories. love the illustration and like the different types of stories that are told depending on the culture/geography. always a fun lesson in each

  •     Coyote: A Trickster Tale from the American Southwest is a cleverly-told Native American myth. It is a refreshing change from the typical children's book and rich with an opportunity to teach some of the lessons of life which most children are bound to encounter as they grow. I would recommend it.

  •     Ordered as a gift for young nephew, did not read it and later did not see it on books reviewed by American Indian Childrens Literature which i usually do before ordering these...

  •     i adore the Gerald McDermott books. you simply can't go wrong with these beautiful stories.

  •     I have a friend who is Lakota. I purchased this book for her son for Christmas. All of the children loved it.

  •     My son loves the trickster books! Always good reads and very well illustrated.

  •     Another great book for my second grade students. It helps meet our state learning goal of reading folk tales from other cultures and it's an Accelerated Reader book so my students can take an AR quiz once they finish reading it!

  •     Clever tale full of surprises. Great vibrant illustrations that capture the flavor of the story.

  •     It is a small book with a simple tale, but we like the art and the desert theme. We have been reading this book to our two-year-old, but so far I like it better than him. He tends to prefer books with more detail on each page, so there is a lot to study and a lot to discuss.

  •     McDermott has such a beautiful way of bringing these stories to life. I started with Raven and have been hooked ever since. My 4 month old loves the patterns and contrasting colors in each of his books. What's also great about them is that they are easy to memorize when you need to tell them a story and you don't have it with you.

  •     I'm a social studies teacher and use this story as an example of a Native American trixter tale. The students enjoy it every year.

  •     My preschool-aged grandchildren loved this book that I had purchased from Amazon, particularly the illustrations with their vibrant colors and stylized characters. We had fun reading the book together. There was enough action in the storyline to hold their interest but yet nothing too scary for their young minds to visualize. Their Mother appreciated that! All in all, this book is a good one to share with the younger children in your family and a nice way to introduce them to the Coyote Trickster character.

  •     I love Gerald McDermott! This book is filled with beautiful and colorful art and the story is perfect.


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