Elmore Leonard, . . HarperEntertainment, $15.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-06-054404-1

Leonard knows a thing or two about movies (he's seen 18 of his novels make it to the big screen, including Get Shorty and Jackie Brown ), and he sets his entertaining debut children's book in the Hollywood hills. German shepherd Buddy, the canine star of movies such as Buddy to the Rescue , helped put his human family in the lap of luxury. But now that he's retired, life in his suburban home seems to revolve around a pampered poodle named Miss Betty—and Buddy is bored of playing second fiddle. Enter Antwan, a wild coyote whose passion for food is matched by his disdain for domesticated pets ("The dog's forgot who he is. Thinks he's only supposed to do what his master wants," Antwan says the first time he spies Buddy in a nearby park). Antwan and Buddy approach each other with caution at first, and even threaten to butt heads. But they soon come to respect each other—and decide to trade places. The adventure may be slim and the plot travels familiar ground, but the dialogue sparkles and allows Leonard to satirize domestic life ("You too used to food comes out of a bag," he lectures Miss Betty, "That's what I'd call being housebroken, not the other thing, peeing on the carpet.... [Y]ou've lost your taste for regular food"). Black-and-red illustrations throughout resemble film stills—perhaps the book will be Buddy's ticket back to the big screen? Ages 10-up. (June)