cover image Coyote Run

Coyote Run

Gaetan Doremus. Enchanted Lion (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59270-147-6

Taking inspiration from high-drama westerns set in dusty towns and parched deserts, Dor%C3%A9mus (Bear Despair) returns with another entry in the Stories Without Words series. Like its wordless predecessors, the book's squat, horizontally oriented format emphasizes the sense of a journey. In this case, it's a chase, one that opens with the red-blue coyote of the title busting out of jail, hopping on a large catlike mammal, and heading for the hills, pistol blazing. Thematically, Dor%C3%A9mus's story recalls another Stories Without Words tale, B%C3%A9atrice Rodriguez's The Chicken Thief; in both, pursuer becomes wooer. Dressed in a shift dress and cowboy hat, the coyote is trailed by the sheriff, a rifle-wielding donkey in a plaid shirt. The two face off on a lonely mesa, but a ladybug seems to remind both of the beauty of their environs (and gives the lovers an unexpected escape route after the sheriff's men arrive). Quavery pencil lines in pinks and golds emphasize the dry heat of the setting, while beguiling details%E2%80%94where exactly did the fish and wine for that romantic campfire cookout come from?%E2%80%94make this a memorable Wild West love story. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (Mar.)