Kirkus Reviews QR Code
COYOTE by Gerald McDermott


A Trickster Tale from the American Southwest

by Gerald McDermott

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-15-220724-4
Publisher: Harcourt

Another trickster tale from McDermott (Raven, 1993, etc.), focusing on Coyote's foolish pride. It's also his curiosity that gets him into trouble in these cartoon-style events: He sets fire to his fur trying to imitate Woodpecker's red head; Snake catches him in his coils; and the flock of crows who give him feathers when he wants to join them arrange it so that he's off balance when he tries to fly. Finally, tired of his boasting, they take their feathers back in midair -- and hapless Coyote plummets at a speed that leaves his tail's tip permanently burnt. Coyote "has a nose for trouble. He always finds it." McDermott depicts his incorrigible antihero as turquoise (a symbolic color assigned him by the people of the Pueblo of Zuni) and sets him against a desert glowing with colors ranging from red rock to flame, entrancing the eye with stylized ripples of fur, the snake's decorative skin, and the crows' rhythmic flight formations. The succinct retelling is amusing but, despite a useful introductory note, not sourced. Still, lively, visually splendid, and sure to appeal. (Folklore/Picture book. 4-8)