Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale

Duncan Tonatiuh. Abrams, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0583-0
Tonatiuh (Diego Rivera: His World and Ours) uses an animal cast to create a valuable portrait of the often-perilous journeys of migrant Mexicans who seek work in the U.S. to support their families. It is time for Papá Rabbit to return home from working in “El Norte,” and his family prepares a celebratory fiesta, but he fails to arrive. When Pancho goes in search of his father, he meets a coyote who agrees to guide him north. In both prose and art, Tonatiuh expertly balances folkloric elements with stark, modern realities; Pancho Rabbit’s trip has the feel of a classic fable or fairy tale, with the untrustworthy coyote demanding more and more of him. As in Tonatiuh’s previous books, his illustrations draw from ancient Mexican art, but he also incorporates photographic textures, from denim jeans to the zipper on Pancho’s mochila (backpack), emphasizing the connection between past and present. An extensive author’s note offers a useful springboard for adult-child discussion as Tonatiuh delineates the dangers undocumented immigrants face. The story’s bittersweet, even ominous, ending reminds readers that there are no easy solutions. Ages 6–9. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/08/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
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