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Coyotes Soundbite

Coyote's Soundbite A Poem for Our Planet

Published: 15 Apr 2021

Hardback, 40 pages

Recommended for age 7+

By John Agard

Illustrated by Piet Grobler

Published by Lantana Publishing

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Excitement spreads like bushfire through the jungle. Earth-goddesses are planning a conference! From Australia to Antarctica, the Amazon to Africa, goddesses will debate the burning environmental issues of our times...and bushy-tailed, smooth-talking Coyote wants in on the action! A rip-roaring poem by a master poet in celebration of Earth Day.

This title features in our The Reading Journey selection.

Tagged environment

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Reviewed by Rebecca Simpson-Hargreaves

Coyote’s Soundbite: A planetary call to arms for our time from John Agard and Piet Grobler.

The goddesses of Earth are getting ready for an important conference and the curious coyote wants to know why he cannot go because he is a male. After thinking through his options, he decides to put on his wife’s dress and tricks his way in to discover their important messages.

This may sound like a humorous poetry storybook, and that would be right, however, it addresses the very real issue of environmental destruction of our planet. Piet Grobler’s illustrations are well suited to John Agard’s poem, lively and interesting as they tell each of the goddess’s stories. We get to see creatures from around the world in vibrant colours, with details that could keep any child entranced.

This is truly a multi-layered text and it is a rich resource on many levels. The underlying story is told through a poem rich in imagery, introducing specific vocabulary from around the globe. It draws from creation mother tales from the Andes to Australia to the Celtic water goddess Brigid. These characters alone could inspire a themed topic in history or RE. Add to this the key message of environmental awareness and issues, it could also support a science or geography focus. It can be easy for books on the subject to feel oppressive and overwhelming, yet this text approaches the subject in a way that offers hope and is joyous.

Coyote’s Soundbite certainly would inspire children to answer the Coyote’s message of ‘Earth-lovers of the world unite! Mother Nature is always right!‘.

For more suggestions of titles that address the topics raised in this book, you may like to read this blog article for Earth Day.

I am a lecturer in Primary Education specialising in English at the University of Manchester. Lover of picture books, poetry, non fiction and fantasy. Passionate about using children's literature to develop children's empathy, self-awareness and social justice and human rights.
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