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OLD COYOTE by Nancy Wood


by Nancy Wood & illustrated by Max Grafe

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-7636-1544-7
Publisher: Candlewick

Being “as old as coyotes get,” a desert veteran takes one last walk in this grave but unsentimental valedictory. Seeing his reflection in water, hearing his own weakened howl, and, most significantly, realizing that he has “forgotten where he left his dreams,” Coyote bids farewell to the rabbits that fed him, the cactus that shaded him, the sun, his animal friends, and his wife, then under the full moon ascends a hill and dreams “his way into a whole new world.” Grafe’s scenes of a grizzled coyote moving through, and nearly blending with, a desert depicted in subdued golds and grays add calm, somber visual notes; in the end, Coyote is transformed into a shadowy, leaping shape filled with stars. The journey’s measured pace allows children time to figure out what’s coming, and to get used to the idea; the view of death as transformation rather than loss may provide some comfort. (Picture book. 6-9)