cover image Old Bag of Bones: A Coyote Tale

Old Bag of Bones: A Coyote Tale

Janet Stevens. Holiday House, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1215-0

A snappy raconteur and artist, Stevens (Coyote Steals the Blanket) offers an animated interpretation of a Shoshone tale featuring the legendary trickster Coyote. Now an aging, decidedly mangy creature who yearns for youth, Coyote begs a stalwart young buffalo for ""a drop of strength."" Transformed into a strapping ""Buffote,"" Coyote misjudges the extent of his new powers, as well as the virtues of age, and is stripped of his buffalo guise. Kids will easily grasp the lessons here, delivered with droll understatement and wit, and will recognize Coyote's folly in trying to be who he is not. An indigo sky is backdrop to Stevens's crowded, full-page paintings and vignettes, in which comically expressive, elderly animal characters reinforce the contrasts between Coyote's actual and would-be personas. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)