cover image Coyote and the Fire Stick: A Pacific Northwest Indian Tale

Coyote and the Fire Stick: A Pacific Northwest Indian Tale

Barbara Diamond Goldin. Harcourt Children's Books, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-15-200438-5

Coyote, a frequent star of Native American trickster tales, puts his imagination into overdrive to bring fire to a tribe in the Pacific Northwest. Such a feat should be easy for the super-confident Coyote-all he has to do is outwit the three awful ogres who tend fire on the mountaintop. With a little help from his animal friends (including an Olympics-worthy relay effort), Coyote saves the day. Goldin's (The Passover Journey; Cakes and Miracles) fresh interpretation of Coyote as a pompous but respected do-gooder gives her well-paced tale added dimension. Her underlying themes in praise of cooperation and kindness are also welcome. From mat lodges to fishing spears to tanned-hide clothing, Hillenbrand's (Traveling to Tondo) warm and textured oil and oil pastel art offers a thoughtfully researched portrait of Pacific Northwest Indians. In addition, his renderings of jocund animals and gruesome yet goofy evil spirits lend a quirky lighthearted air to the proceedings. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)