|When Otis courted Mama|
Author: Appelt, Kathi
While his life seems perfectly good as it is, Cardell, a young coyote, learns to tolerate--and even like--the coyote that is courting his mother.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.90
Points: .5 Quiz: 171317
Kirkus Reviews (+) (11/01/14)
School Library Journal (+) (01/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (04/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 11/15/2014 Aside from a few sticker burrs and occasional sand fleas, Cardell, a little coyote, has a mostly wonderful life. He has a perfectly good mama and a perfectly good daddy, and even though his daddy lives in a different part of the desert, Cardell still gets to see him. But then something ominous happens: the new neighbor, Otis, begins courting Cardell’s mama, and the little coyote can’t control his “grrr” reflex. In the past, Mama has said “Adios” to several suitors, and Cardell waits to hear her dismiss Otis, who can’t do any of the neat things that Cardell’s perfectly good daddy can. But perhaps there are other things Otis can do. Like making delicious prickly-pear pudding and pouncing as if he had springs in his legs. Best of all, he’s a wonderful storyteller. And gradually, Cardell’s “grrrs” get softer until they stop altogether. Like Otis, Appelt is a gifted storyteller, and families whose circumstances echo Cardell’s will welcome this gentle story, which is nicely augmented by illustrator McElmurry’s gouache pictures, with their vivid desert colors. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2015 PreS-Gr 3—Set in the southwestern desert, this adorable, humble tale of how a young coyote copes with divorced parents will win children's hearts. The cadence of the story, with its soothing repetition, balances the new dual-home reality of so many children today with the old comfort of Home where a child feels "loved through and through." The beautifully toned gouache brushwork and large swatches of color are reminiscent of Rothko's work on one page while evoking classic Golden Book aesthetics on the next. White stands out like the stars in the desert night, and the eyelashes of these coyotes are long and lush or their cheeks blush. Cardell loves his daddy who can sing and play and cook jalapeño flapjacks like no other, but he has to share his "perfectly good daddy" with a stepmother and a baby stepbrother. He loves his "perfectly good mama," but not the series of suitors that come a-courtin' but are soon sent away. Then Otis arrives, and he makes Cardell feel "a grrr form in his throat." He expects his mother to say, "We can do without Otis…but "Adiós, Otis" never came." The complicated feelings of a child who must accept a new stepparent are woefully underrepresented in children's literature. Turns out that Otis can spin a pretty good yarn that "settled on Cardell's fur like a warm blanket. Even the moon seemed to smile." Well, like Otis, this exquisitely told tale is a welcome addition to any collection.—Sara Lissa Paulson, The American Sign Language and English Lower School, New York City - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2015 Cardell the coyote has has adjusted well to his parents’ split, making the most of his visits with his “perfectly good daddy,” stepmama, and stepbrother, and savoring having his “perfectly good mama” to himself the rest of the time. He therefore sees no need for Otis, the latest in a line of his mother’s suitors. But where she soon rejected the other gentleman callers, his mother doesn’t discourage Otis-though Cardell certainly tries. Undeterred by the pup’s growl, Otis makes delicious prickly pear pudding, shows him how to pounce, and tells the funniest stories, winning Cardell over before asking his mama for her paw in marriage. Colloquial turns of phrase and Spanish words are peppered throughout, coupled with thoughtfully detailed gouache illustrations lustrous in their warm desert palette, and they effectively evoke the Southwest; days are warm and brown, and nights are big and starry. Author and illustrator deliver on both substance and humor, capturing childlike emotions and conveying them in witty, comforting prose and in accompanying pictures of coyotes in bandanas and ten-gallon hats. This will make for an entertaining readaloud, though the images are detailed enough that individual readers will also have plenty of jokes to uncover and enjoy. With a sympathetic and charming main character, this story will be particularly relevant for a child with a blended family. AA - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.