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Item - Tricky Coyote Tales



Series: Tricky Journeys — no. 1
Author: Schweizer, Chris
Illustrator: Thomas, Chad
Date: 2011
ISBN: 0761366016 / 9780761366010 (hardback)
Length: 64 pages
LC Cataloging in Publication Summary: Coyote seeks food and fun in the canyons and hills of the southwest, and the reader helps him make choices as he encounters many other creatures, some friendly and some dangerous.
KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts: Gamebooks in graphic-novel form! What will they think of next? Tricky Coyote Tales is not only the first book I've read in the Tricky Journeys series, but my first interactive graphic novel of any kind, and I wasn't sure how well mixing gamebooks with comic-style paneling would work. If the rest of the series is anything like this first book, though, then the format works fine. Author Chris Schweizer spins an amusing tale, inspired by Native American folklore about the wily coyote, and lets the reader play the title role as a trickster coyote flees a raging bear furious after the coyote attempted to raid his hibernation food stores. A coyote can't help occasionally playing tricks on beasts of every size, shape and temper, but Coyote finds himself in big trouble this time when the angry bear tracks him to the edge of a cliff, sure to make a meal of the cowering animal if you don't act fast to make a decision for him.

So what will it be? Coyote could leap across a huge chasm to elude his pursuer, but the other side of the canyon might not prove much more hospitable. There are mean stone creatures in these parts, moles eking out an existence inside dark caves, and prairie dogs who may or may not be friendly toward a rogue coyote, depending on how he is introduced into their midst. Most creatures Coyote will meet can be duped with a little mischievous trickery, often with comical results; but beware, for even a smart coyote can try to pull one too many clever tricks on his journey and have it backfire. Choosing for Coyote to take the honest and open route might not end happily every time, but it's a good bet that if he treats the animals he comes across with respect, he'll mostly get the same in return. Keep that in mind during the adventure, but don't be shy about resorting to trickery, as well. That is the coyote's natural strength.

If Coyote jumps off the ledge into the water below to get away from the bear, he could end up tumbling down rough rapids, sailing uncontrollably into rocks and cliff walls, or even going over the edge of a waterfall. The farther he gets from the bear, the better, but even a well-executed escape may not free him from his adversary's wrath permanently. You might find Coyote face-to-face all over again with the animal hunting him, and what can you possibly do once he's trapped between an enraged bear's claws? All the coyote guile in the world won't be enough to deliver him out of a tight squeeze like that. But is there still a way to save Coyote's life...if you play your cards right?

Some gamebook purists are likely to find the lack of internal consistency in Tricky Coyote Tales off-putting. The reactions of other characters in the story vary enormously based on the reader's decisions, frequently in ways that shouldn't logically be affected by the moves Coyote makes. Yet the story is so funny in some places, and is such an entertaining read, I don't think most people will mind a little creative license when it comes to story consistency. Personally, my favorite of the book's adventures involve seeking refuge in the dark habitat of the moles, who aren't too difficult for Coyote to put one over on, but with potentially mixed results. Another notable quirk of Tricky Coyote Tales--and, I assume, the other books in the Tricky Journeys series, too--is that you aren't the coyote; you merely make his choices for him in the story, and have the power to lead him to life or death, comfort or destruction. The reader can do with that power as he or she sees fit. Overall, I liked Tricky Coyote Tales. I had a good time guiding Coyote's narrative, and the historical page at the end of the book gives some interesting background about the history of coyote legends in Indian culture. This book is easily good enough to keep me reading the series.

More reviews by KenJenningsJeopardy74

Users Who Own This Item: Demian (library ed.), knginatl

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