AND ME, COYOTE! by Betty Baker


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This all-encompassing origin tale tells how World Maker creates everything from the first land to the first people, and how Coyote, who is there at the beginning with World Maker and World Maker's brother, brags of his own role in the creation. In the beginning, as World Maker and his brother emerge from the water, Coyote grabs the brother's legs and the brother inadvertently opens his eyes, and, as a consequence, goes blind. (The other two are careful to keep theirs shut.) Whatever this might mean in Southwest Indian mythology is not clear here, and it is all the more puzzling for being glided over as just part of a string of incidents. Subsequently, while World Maker goes about his business, the Blind Man can only make prickly plants and sickness and strange animals (fish), which Coyote ridicules. But then Blind Man is dropped and Coyote's rivals become the animals, who try to make a man in their composite image (with horns, claws, rabbit ears, etc.). When they fail, World Maker creates people without these features but, to compensate for them, ""smart like me, Coyote."" With so many incidents and motifs strung along, the narrative hasn't the punch of a simple, coherent tale. Still, Coyote's personality could make it work--with livelier, playful pictures. As it is, Horvath's ponderous block prints weigh and slow the story down to a disabling extent.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Macmillan