Though other current causes can become occasions for slapdash exploitation, somehow the coyote seems to inspire only superior children's books. This is closer to the standard survey than were last year's Sundance Coyote by Michael Fox or The Hunting Trail by Ester Wier, each introducing the species by way of one impressively realized individual. But Thomas' considered, respectful weaving together of Indian legends, amateurs' first-hand observations and scientific studies makes for unusual texture and dimension. Acknowledging that ""the scientific 'facts' about coyotes are hard to come by,"" Thomas undogmatically cites different, often conflicting studies on such issues as the coyote's ""normal"" diet and his effect on other animal populations. And although the closing declaration of the old Indian belief that ""coyote cannot die"" doesn't strengthen the foregoing argument against hunters and poisoners, the legends often testify to understandings which have eluded more scientific investigations.