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The Colorful World of Latino Folktales



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The Tale of Rabbit and Coyote

Johnston, Tony.  1994.  The tale of Rabbit and Coyote.  New York: Putnam. 


Summary: Rabbit outwits Coyote in the Zapotec tale which explains why coyotes howl at the moon.
 
Type:  Porquoi and beast- because this story tells us why the coyote howls and why we have a rabbit in the moon; and beast because it is a trickster tale where animals talk and act like humans and tries to outwit each other.
 
Characters:  The main characters are rabbit and coyote.  Even though they are very flat, the rabbit is wise and smart and always outsmarts the coyote, and the coyote is very determined and perseveres to the end.
 
Setting: There is no mention of when or where this story takes place other than in a field and pictures of mountains.  The author gives the reader a note before the story and says this story comes from the town of Juchitan in Oaxaca, Mexico.  The clothes of the farmer, the sombrero's worn by the farmer and the scarecrow, the adobe house with the Virgin of Guadalupe by the door, the maracha's the rabbit and coyote have in their hands, and the vibrant colors all represent the hispanic culture.
 
Plot:  Rabbit tricks and outsmarts the coyote throughout the story, from eating chile's in the garden, to tying up the Coyote at the farmer's house, holding back a bolder, and finally hiding in the moon.  Since the rabbit is hiding in the moon, the coyote gazes at it every night and howls.
 
Theme:  Sometimes the smartest and wisest characters make the best decisions.

Rating: 3 out of 5
This story is childlike and simple with very flat characters.  The colors were vivid, but the illustrations were very bland.  This story has elements of the traditional Brer Rabbit stories.  One thing I did like was the connection to the rabbit in the moon.  I see the rabbit in the moon, not the man's face. 





Additional Feature:
 
The Tale of Rabbit and Coyote
 

Here are some quotes from my students:
 
"It is funny.  It shows why the coyote howls."
 
"It was very funny.  It made me laugh out loud."
 
"It was funny, but I didn't like the pictures, they were weird"
 
"It is hilarious."
 
"It was entertaining and funny"
 
"It has many vibrant colors"
 
"The art was simple, yet entertaining."
 
"Cute, but too childish."

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