cover image The Tale of Rabbit and Coyote

The Tale of Rabbit and Coyote

Tony Johnston. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.99 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22258-0

The folklore of Mexico inspires this impressive collaboration by the talented creators of The Badger and the Magic Fan and Pages of Music . After clever Rabbit sneaks into a field one evening and feasts on the biggest chiles, the farmer sets up a beeswax ``farmer'' to trap the thief. When this imposter refuses to talk the next night, Rabbit (not so cleverly) punches it repeatedly, until his paws and feet are stuck in the wax. Thrilled with his catch, the real farmer throws the rabbit in a sack and plans to cook him. But the wily lapin convinces Coyote to take his place: ``This man wants me to marry his daughter . . . but I'm too young. Why don't you take my place?'' It is the first of many ruses the gullible Coyote falls for--with uproarious results--throughout the tale, which ultimately explains why coyotes howl at the moon. Spanish expressions worked into the pictures are translated in a glossary. A good part of the humor of this pungent Zapotec legend is delivered through dePaola's droll folk art, resplendent with the bronzed and dazzling hues of the Southwest. Both the palette and the patterns used here represent a departure for the artist, who outdoes himself in this fetching book. Ages 4-8. (May)