Two tales, set in a time “when animals and human beings still talked to each other,” display Thomas King’s cheeky humor and master storytelling skills. Freshly illustrated and reissued as an early chapter book, these stories are perfect for newly independent readers.
In Coyote Sings to the Moon, Old Woman and the animals sing to the moon each night. Coyote attempts to join them, but his voice is so terrible they beg him to stop. He is crushed and lashes out — who needs Moon anyway? Furious, Moon dives into a pond, plunging the world into darkness. But clever Old Woman comes up with a plan to send Moon back up into the sky and, thanks to Coyote, there she stays.
In Coyote’s New Suit, mischievous Raven wreaks havoc when she suggests that Coyote’s toasty brown suit is not the finest in the forest, thus prompting him to steal suits belonging to all the other animals. Meanwhile, Raven tells the other animals to borrow clothes from the humans’ camp. When Coyote finds that his closet is too full, Raven slyly suggests he hold a yard sale, then sends the human beings (in their underwear) and the animals (in their ill-fitting human clothes) along for the fun. A hilarious illustration of the consequences of wanting more than we need.
Key Text Features
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Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
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.
Byron Eggenschwiler is an award-winning illustrator whose recent books include The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt by Riel Nason, Operatic by Kyo Maclear (starred reviews from Booklist, School Library Journal and Quill & Quire), Coyote Tales by Thomas King and Beastly Puzzles by Rachel Poliquin (starred review from School Library Journal). Byron’s work has also appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Walrus, GQ and O, The Oprah Magazine. He lives in Calgary, Alberta.
Excerpt: Coyote Tales (by (author) Thomas King; illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler)
Excerpt from Coyote Sings to the Moon:
One evening, Coyote hears Old Woman and the animals singing to the moon.
“Pardon me,” says Coyote, smiling his Coyote smile. “Exactly what are you doing?”
“We’re singing to the moon,” says Old Woman.
“Well,” says Coyote, taking out his comb and brushing his coat, checking his teeth with his tongue, and wiping his nose on his arm. “What you need is a good tenor.”
“No! No!” shout all the animals. “You have a terrible singing voice!”
“Yes,” says Old Woman. “Your voice could scare Moon away.”
“Hummph,” says Coyote, whose feelings are hurt. “Why would anyone want to sing to Moon, anyway?”
Excerpt from Coyote’s New Suit:
Just then Bear came out of the woods, all hot and sweaty. She took off her bear suit, folded it up neatly and left it on a large, flat rock.
“Wheeeeeee!” she shouted as she hopped into the pond. She waved her arms and kicked her legs and splashed water all over the place.
“Now that’s a suit,” said Raven, eyeing Bear’s suit as it lay on the rock. “I don’t believe I’ve seen a suit like that in my entire life.” And she flew away.
But she didn’t go far.
“Hummmph!” grumped Coyote. “What does Raven know about fashion?”
But he had to admit that Bear’s suit did look substantial. When no one was looking, he tiptoed over and held the suit up to the light, rubbing his nose in the thick fur.
“It’s not as classy as my suit, but it certainly is impressive.”
Then Coyote had an idea. It wasn’t a good idea, but then most of Coyote’s ideas weren’t.
For "Coyote Sings to the Moon": A brilliant book. King’s Coyote is part traditional trickster and part 1950s greaser …
Quill & Quire