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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Coyote’s New Suit, written by Thomas King and illustrated by Johnny Wales. Key Porter Books, 2004. $11.95 ages 5 and up

"The next day Coyote went down to the pond to lie on a rock and admire himself. When he got there, he saw Porcupine swimming laps. And there on a log, neatly folded up, was Porcupine's suit.

'Hmmmmm, ' said Coyote, touching the ends of the quills. 'It's not classy and it's not impressive, but it is quite sporty - and everybody needs a sporty suit from time to time.' And Coyote gathered up Porcupine's suit and scampered home."

A reissue in paperback will bring this funny trickster story to a new audience. I remember with great delight an assembly performance of King’s first coyote story, Coyote Sings to the Moon. The class did a wonderful job and entertained the whole gymnasium as they brought it to life on stage. In this story, Coyote loves his coat, but is easily convinced by Raven that his might not be the best. So, through trickery and pride, Coyote manages to steal the coats of his forest companions. Raven convinces said creatures that they might like to try the clothing that the humans hang on lines for others to take at their leisure, no longer needing them for their own use. You can imagine the anger felt by those who have been burgled and then duped. But, Raven has a plan to get Coyote into even more hot water. And, as is usual, in the end Coyote does not seem to have learned his lesson. Moral…when you want more than you need, be very careful!

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