Linda Perry is a senior policy analyst at the Ontario Ministry of
Colleges and Universities.
The story is introduced through a brief history of the Alberta Hutterite
community where the author’s sister, the hero of the story, was a
teacher for many years. The creation of this book, the author tells us,
is the fulfillment of a promise to her late sister. This fulfillment
may, in part, contribute to the power and poignancy of what she has to
The story is built around the adventures of a class of schoolchildren
after a long winter storm. They discover a coyote caught in a leg-hold
trap. The remarkable circumstances of his release form the climax of the
book. The vocabulary is pitched at the level of nine- to ten-year-olds,
but the subject matter is appropriate for younger children as well.
The mood of the book, created largely by the wonderful color
illustrations, is moving and strongly realistic, without any of the
cuteness of an “animal story.” Surrounding the trapped coyote, for
example, are the bloody feathers of the bird used to bait the trap. The
book conveys a sense of the loving patience of the storyteller and of a
tale embellished by many tellings.