HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Coyote Raid In Cactus Canyon
Author and Illustrator: Jim Arnosky
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile, 2005
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 4 – 8
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLEN T)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Arnosky, Jim. Coyote Raid In Cactus Canyon (published in 2005 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson St., New York City, NY 10014). While we usually associate coyotes primarily with the West, did you know that they have spread into nearly every state of the Union? However, this story does have a realistic Western setting with effective illustrations and a simple storyline. It is a hot and windless desert day in Cactus Canyon where a wren, a cottontail, some quail, and an antelope squirrel all peacefully reside. Unfortunately, a gang of four rowdy young coyotes comes over the rocky slope of the canyon, and the other animals all try to hide. But the coyotes chase the cottontail, bark at the wren, frighten the quail, and growl at the squirrel.
Then, unsuccessful in capturing any of their prey, the four coyotes turn on each other and start to brawl. But can you guess what animal they come across which frightens them and causes them to flee? The high-quality, full-spread artwork done in watercolor by Jim Arnosky, author of the Crinkleroot series of nature books, presents vivid and striking Southwestern hues. The book would supplement a desert biome unit quite well. Some might see it as a perfect launching off place for discussing bullies, although others might find it a bit of a stretch to characterize the coyotes as bullies rather than natural predators.