Books by Diana Bryer

CLEO AND THE COYOTE by Elizabeth Levy
ANIMALS
Released: May 31, 1996

An abandoned street pooch is taken in by a young boy, Martin, and named Cleopatra (she was found in Queens, New York). Cleo is a female Philip Marlowe in fur, delivering lots of snappy lines—``I lived on hot dogs. Hate the name. Love the taste''—before she travels to Utah, where she has a run-in with a coyote (``Back off,'' she growls at one point. ``I taste worse than a week old bagel''). The two become fast friends, swapping stories, philosophizing, saving each other's life. However, at a moment when Cleo must choose between staying with Martin or hoofing it with her coyote friend, Cleo opts for the former. It will be hard for young readers to understand why; much more page space is given over to Cleo's bonding with the coyote than with Martin. Security triumphs over adventure? Bryer's primitive illustrations are busy and attractive, shifting into western motifs when the story moves to Utah, but her brush can't bring balance to the text. (Picture book. 5-9) Read full book review >