Kirkus Star


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Fox obviously knows his coyotes and before you've got to Sundance's own dangerously close encounter with hunters, you too will be taking the animals' part against the humans who trap, shoot and poison them. (You might even catch yourself gloating -- though Fox doesn't -- when one of the hunters is caught in his own buddies' trap.) Young Sundance and his family invite respect and affection with their highly civilized (Fox uses no such misleading term) dominance testing, their consideration of the rights and property even of low-ranking siblings, their evening get-togethers (complete with family sing-alongs) at the water hole, their parents' haste in offering themselves as decoys to draw hunters' dogs away from their young. And no Western movie confrontation gives off tenser vibrations than the family's meeting with another group of coyotes (cousins, it turns out) as they sniff each other out in an equivalent of deciding whether to shake hands or draw guns. (Again Fox avoids any such anthropomorphic analogies.) There are parallels too with Sundance's adolescent confusion in the face of the young female cousin's flirtation -- but when he is a little older, and after he has been rescued from a trap by a reservation Indian boy who nurses and then frees him, Sundance meets Starfire again and leads her back to the reservation where their own family will find a measure of protection.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1974
Page count: 94pp
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan