Kirkus Review: 

A familiar folktale gets a new Southwestern setting in this picture book.

Woodrat’s larder is almost empty, and even though hunting for his family under the full moon in the desert is dangerous, he decides to go out for supplies. It’s not long before Coyote catches him and traps him beneath a paw. Mixing techniques from the Brer Rabbit stories and "The Billy Goats Gruff," Woodrat baits Coyote with images of his “sweet wife, bless her roly-poly self, and my chubby little children, all ten of them.” Then he begs for mercy, asking Coyote not to throw him into the prickly, dangerous cholla patch. Readers familiar with these tales will be quick to recognize that the cholla patch is exactly where Woodrat and his family will be safe, but youngsters encountering this type of story for the first time will enjoy Severson’s adroit use of suspense until Coyote gets his just deserts. Italian fine artist Orazzini’s paintings deftly capture the nighttime hues of the desert, although the clothing choices (bandannas around Woodrat’s head and Coyote’s neck) feel superfluous. The cartoonish animals have an abundance of personality, and Coyote is wicked but never overly scary for young lap readers. Severson, who is also a novelist and performance storyteller, uses fairly dense text with some challenging vocabulary for newly independent readers (“precious,” “shriveled”). But the tale’s smooth flow will beautifully aid adults reading the book aloud.

Fans of trickster stories will appreciate this clever rendition featuring American desert animals.

Grades 4-6. Ages 10-12.
Author: Marc Severson
Illustrator: Francesco Orazzini
Paperback, 32 pages. 8.5×8.5 inch.
ISBN: 978-1947408067
Publisher: The Small-Tooth-Dog Publishing Group LLC

This price includes shipping anywhere in the United States. Please allow 7-10 days for delivery. 

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