Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: a Migrant's Tale

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: a Migrant’s Tale
Duncan Tonatiuh
The rains have not come, and Pancho Rabbit's father and some of the other workers have to travel to El Norte to find work. When he is about to return Pancho's family plans a big party, but they never arrive. Pancho knows that there is something wrong, so he asks a Coyote to help him get to the North. The path is long and difficult, and Pancho has to pay the Coyote in food that he had planned to give his father. Soon, Pancho runs out of food, and the Coyote makes plans to eat the rabbit instead! Thankfully, Pancho's father and his friends are nearby and hear Pancho's yell for help, and the Coyote flees. Pancho, his father, and his father's friends go back home now that Pancho has learned the way.

This book is really a treasure, and a necessity. Using animal characters, especially the Coyote in the role of the "Coyote," was a really good idea that will help children see the plight of the migrants who make the difficult journey North for work. The story conveys the fact that many people who come to work in the United States as migrants do not always have a choice; there is simply no work for them back home. They have to stay away from their families for long periods, and the journey here and back is very difficult. And, sadly, the Coyote can sometimes turn out to be a villain in disguise. By telling the story from Pancho Rabbit's point of view, we see the worry families go through when their loved ones leave, and when, unfortunately, some never return.

This is a very serious and sad part of life for many migrant families, and this book conveys the reality and hardships undertaken for a better life in a way that young children can understand.

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