cover image Quail's Song

Quail's Song

Valerie Scho Carey, Valerie Schocarey. Putnam Publishing Group, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-21936-8

The satisfying tales and burnished colors of the Southwest are blended in this Pueblo Indian story of the trickster coyote who, in this variant, is himself tricked by a clever quail. When Quail is injured and cries out ``Ki-ruu, ki-ruu,'' Coyote threatens to devour her unless she teaches him her ``song.'' Coyote stumbles in a prairie-dog hole, treads on a rattlesnake's tail, and each time has to return to Quail to relearn what his mishaps cause him to forget. Finally Quail paints a ``rock-that-looks-like-Quail,'' and Coyote, like Brer Fox confronting the Tar Baby, is rendered helpless by his own foolishness in pursuing ``the-song-that-was-no-song.'' Carey's lively retelling is filled with repetitions and sounds that make for a good read-aloud, and Barnett's striking collages mimic traditional Pueblo art in fine style. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)