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Children's Fiction Native American

A Coyote Solstice Tale

by (author) Thomas King

illustrated by Gary Clement

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Sep 2009
Native American, General, Christmas & Advent
Recommended Age
5 to 8
Recommended Grade
k to 3
Recommended Reading age
5 to 8
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2009
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2014
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

Download Teacher’s Guide

Where to buy it


Winner of the American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Awards, Best Picture Book.

Trickster Coyote is having his friends over for a festive solstice get-together in the woods when a little girl comes by unexpectedly. She leads the party-goers through the snowy woods to a shopping mall -- a place they have never seen before.

Coyote gleefully shops with abandon, only to discover that fi lling your shopping cart with goodies is not quite the same thing as actually paying for them. The trickster is tricked and goes back to his cabin in the woods -- somewhat subdued -- though nothing can keep Coyote down for long.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.

About the authors

Thomas King, who is of Cherokee and Greek descent, is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, scriptwriter, and photographer. His first novel, Medicine River, won several awards, including the PEN/Josephine Miles Award and the Writers Guild of Alberta Award, and was shortlisted for the 1991 Commonwealth Writers' Prize. It was also made into a CBC television movie. Green Grass, Running Water, his second novel, was shortlisted for the 1993 Governor General's Award and won the 1994 Canadian Authors Award for fiction. His highly praised short story collection, One Good Story, That One, was a Canadian bestseller, and his collection of Massey Lectures, The Truth About Stories, won the 2003 Trillium Book Award. He has also written three acclaimed children's books: A Coyote Columbus Story, Coyote Sings to the Moon, and Coyote's New Suit. Thomas King lives in Guelph, Ontario, and is an Associate Professor of English (teaching Native literature and creative writing) at the University of Guelph.

Thomas King's profile page

Gary Clement is an author and illustrator of children’s books who won the Governor General’s Award for The Great Poochini and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Just Stay Put. He has also illustrated A Coyote Solstice Tale by Thomas King and Stories from Adam and Eve to Ezekiel by Celia Barker Lottridge. He is the editorial cartoonist for the National Post, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He lives in Toronto where he regularly exhibits his drawings and paintings.

Gary Clement's profile page


  • Winner, American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Award for Best Book

Editorial Reviews

The humor is dry and affectionate, the rhyming text delights with sly turns of phrase, the watercolor cartoons are whimsical … [A] holiday treat.

School Library Journal

This critique of consumerism has the irreverent, biting humour of all King's Coyote stories.

Toronto Star

This witty winter tale deftly skewers the materialistic aspect of the holiday season in a humorous, trenchant way.

Kirkus Reviews

Dryly humorous cartoon illustrations in pen-and-ink and watercolor wash put Coyote’s emotions on full display.

Horn Book

[A] splendid satirical romp, with an equally splendid profusion of watercolour illustrations by the inimitable Gary Clement.

Globe and Mail

Librarian Reviews

A Coyote Solstice Tale

Coyote is expecting his friends to celebrate the winter holidays when he receives an unexpected guest: a small girl dressed like a reindeer. She has come searching for “friendship, goodwill and peace”. Concerned she is lost, they follow her tracks back, which leads them to a clear cutting and “A bright object in the night”, which turns out to be the mall. Coyote shops for big ticket items for all his friends, discovering the concepts of cash, credit and consumerism. This story is a humorous look at how commercialism contrasts with the age old traditions of feasting, sharing and caring.

King is a Governor General’s Award nominated novelist/politician of Cherokee, Greek and German descent. He currently teaches English and Aboriginal literature at the University of Guelph. In 2004, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2009-2010.

A Coyote Solstice Tale

Coyote and friends are celebrating the winter solstice when a little girl shows up. She leads them out of the woods to the new shopping mall, which is filled with the madness of Christmas shopping. The animals fill their cart, but, when it comes time to leave, paying is not the same as foraging.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2010.

Other titles by Thomas King

Other titles by Gary Clement

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