Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Tale of Rabbit and Coyote

The Tale of Rabbit and Coyote
by Toni Johnston and Tomie dePaola
[Multicultural Literature]
[Traditional/Folk Literature]

This story is set in Mexico. One night, Rabbit found a field of chiles. He was so excited to see the chiles that he went over to the field and ate the biggest ones he saw. When the farmer saw what had happened, he decided to make a beeswax doll to catch the rabbit if he came back. That night, the rabbit returned for more chiles. He saw the wax farmer and went up to him to say hello and ask for some chiles. Rabbit was mad when he did not receive a response, so he punched the farmer. Rabbit eventually managed to get both paws and both feet stuck in the beeswax. When the farmer came to check his trap, he was pleased to see that he had caught the rabbit. The farmer put Rabbit in his bag and took him home, where he built a fire and hung the sack that Rabbit was in. When the farmer went to get his herbs, Rabbit saw Coyote in the distance. Coyote asked Rabbit why he was hanging there, and Rabbit told Coyote that the man want him to marry his daughter. Rabbit claimed that he was too young to marry and asked coyote to take his place, making him think that the water boiling over the fire was for making hot chocolate. Coyote agreed, and as soon as the farmer returned he was tossed in the water. Rabbit played many more tricks on Coyote to aviod getting eaten. Finally, Rabbit ran away and climbed a ladder up to the moon, and then threw the ladder away. Coyote saw Rabbit but could never find the ladder, which is why Coyote still sits gazing at the moon, howling at Rabbit because he is very angry.

This would be great to use in the classroom to indroduce literature that comes from other cultures. There are Spanish words throughout the story and there is a Spanish glossery at the end. After students read this book, they could be required to find their own piece of multicultural literature and summarize it for the class, so that students are exposed to many different types.

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