A retelling of the Christopher Columbus story from a Native point of view turns this tale on its ear!
Coyote, the trickster, creates the world and all the creatures in it. She is able to control all events to her advantage until a funny-looking red-haired man named Columbus changes her plans. He is unimpressed by the wealth of moose, turtles and beavers in Coyote’s land. Instead he is interested in the human beings he can take to sell in Spain.
Thomas King uses a bag of literary tricks to shatter the stereotypes surrounding Columbus’s voyages. In doing so, he invites children to laugh with him at the crazy antics of Coyote, who unwittingly allows Columbus to bring about the downfall of her human friends. And he makes the point that history is influenced by the culture of the reporter.
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.
Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events
...very funny, provocative, and offers a unique and absolutely engaging point of view.
— Toronto Star, February 1992
...what Coyote captures...is the spirit of cheekiness, a bold, outrageous iconoclastic energy that incorporates warmth and inclusiveness.
— Horn Book, September 1993
This is an entertaining story, great fun to read aloud because the language is crisp, colloquial, and very expressive. It is also extremely thought-provoking.
— Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW, July 1992
What seems a funny romp turns out to have a very sharp edge. This irreverent treatment of Columbus and his fellows may be disquieting to some, but it is long overdue.
— School Library Journal, September 1993
About the Author:
Thomas King is an author and Professor of English at the University of Guelph, teaching Native Literature and Creative Writing.