Not every folktale collection includes the words “BONK BONK BONK,” but they fit perfectly here.
This is the 21st century, and there’s a demographic sampling of readers who’ve grown up watching Warner Brothers cartoons and listening to Native American trickster tales. This book is for them. Looney Tunes fans will appreciate that Coyote falls off a cliff early in the story. Or, if the readers make a different choice, he’s attacked by wasps or eaten by a giant. The choose-your-own-adventure format allows readers to flip a few pages and sample generations’ worth of Coyote tales. (Thomas’ illustrations are somehow both slapstick and archetypal.) The problem, strangely enough, is that there aren’t enough stories here to fill the book. A segment might end with an inspired trick and an escape from Hill Monsters, or it might just peter out. One segment concludes with Coyote joining a pair of beavers for soup. Still, these 64 pages give readers an entertaining and even well-rounded look at Coyote’s personality: the trickster, fool and occasional wise man of tradition. Later books in the series have a more satisfying range of choices: Tricky Rabbit Tales, Tricky Monkey Tales and Tricky Raven Tales.
Folktale purists will be driven looney tunes, but so what if the tone isn’t completely authentic—who doesn’t like to see a coyote fall off a cliff? (Graphic novel. 7-10)