29 August 2011

29 August 2011–Tricky Coyote Tales


Written by Chris Schweizer; Illustrated by Chad Thomas
ISBN: 978-0-76137-859-4
Graphic Universe, 2011
Combining Native American folklore and the super popular style of Choose Your Own Adventure books from the 80’s and 90’s, the Tricky Journeys series puts the reader in the role of Coyote, the trickster. Six different journeys reside in the book, will you fool Bear into giving you his lunch? Can you con the prairie dogs into inviting you to dinner? Just be careful, you could end up on the menu for someone else just as easily!
Kids love animal stories, and they also love being in charge of the story. The combination of the two sounds like a sure-fire recipe for a solid book, and in this instance, it hits on all cylinders.  While this is Schweizer’s first book for younger audiences, I think that he pegs his audience just right – it’s not too easy for most readers, but it’s not talking down to them either. Thomas’s artwork is phenomenal – engaging, entertaining and enjoyable, and it fits like a glove with Schweizer’s writing style.
The fact that the reader is put into the leading role always makes for engaging reading, and the story makes sure to not beat you over the head if you make a wrong decision (unlike a different series I mentioned earlier, which was a neat idea, but in retrospect, probably contributed to my neuroses), it gently suggests that you try something different the next time.
Now, this is not the first book that Graphic Universe has done in this style. A couple of years ago, they released Nightmare on Zombie Island, which was also a great book, but the artwork was a little too good for the book (I had nightmares from it!), but my eldest weathered it alright.
 Tricky Coyote Tales is the first in a six book series, each one dealing with a different trickster from folklore, so be sure to keep an eye out for those as well.
Final Thoughts
The Tricky Journeys series shows a lot of promise, especially for younger readers. Kids always enjoy being the center of attention, and they really get a kick out of being able to direct the story by making choices that change the outcome of the story, so this is definitely a series that I would highly recommend to anyone.

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