Saturday, July 9, 2016

[BOOK REVIEW] Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant's Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh

Title:  Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote:  A Migrant's Tale

Author:  Duncan Tonatiuh

Genre: Folktale / Mexico / Immigration / Family / Drama
Year Published: 2013

Year Read:  2016

Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Some Intense Moments)

Now, I have read many children’s books that dealt with people from other countries immigrating to America for a better life.  But, I had never read a children’s book that went in depth with the immigration between Mexico and America and the reasons behind it.  “Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale” by Duncan Tonatiuh is such a tale that tackles the subject of immigration and yet also discusses about the importance of family in such an informative and effective way!

The story starts off with Papa Rabbit going off to the carrot and lettuce fields far away to the North in order to earn extra money for his family.  Unfortunately, when Pancho and his family eagerly await the arrival of Papa Rabbit, Papa Rabbit never showed up back home and Pancho and his family started getting worried about Papa Rabbit.  So, late during the night, Pancho decided to go out and find Papa Rabbit himself, while packing some of his father’s favorite food, which included mole, rice and beans, tortillas and a jug full of fresh aguamiel.  Along the way, Pancho meets up with a coyote who tells Pancho that he can take him to his father if Pancho gives him the food that he is carrying.  Even though Pancho did not want to give up the food he was going to give to his father, he longed to see his father again, so he decided to give the coyote all of his food.  Once the coyote realizes that Pancho ran out of food…

What will the coyote do to Pancho?

Read this book to find out!

Wow!  This book was simply amazing and heartwarming at the same time!  I just loved the way that Duncan Tonatiuh wrote this book as the writing was extremely touching and sharp and I loved the way that he wrote the characters, especially Pancho Rabbit himself.  I loved the fact that Pancho was a brave and determined child who only wanted to see his father and the fact that he journeyed across the desert with his food barely intact really showed his determined nature throughout the story, which made him into such an inspiring character.  Duncan Tonatiuh has done a splendid job at explaining about the obstacles that most immigrants face whenever they are migrating to another country in order to provide more food and money for their families and I like the fact that there was more emphasis put on Papa Rabbit trying to provide for his family rather than explain how his situation as an immigrant would have been treated in another country.  I also loved the little author’s note at the end where Duncan Tonatiuh provided statistics regarding immigrants coming to America and how to look at the situation from an immigrant’s perspective instead of assuming false facts about their situation in going to America to get a good job.  Duncan Tonatiuh’s artwork is highly creative as it is hand drawn and then collaged digitally and it gives the book a unique feel as I rarely see artwork where you see cut outs from magazines being combined with hand-drawn artwork.  I also loved the Mexican influence of the artwork as it made me feel like I am living in Mexico right as I am reading this book!


The only problem I had with this book was that the ending felt a bit abrupt as there was a major plot point that happened near the end of the book and it was not quite resolved. I would have liked to see that plot point actually be resolved towards the end of this story.  I will not give out too many details about what happened at the end since I do not want to spoil anything, but let us just say that it dealt with people stealing items from one of the characters.

Overall, “Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote” is a truly lovely story about the experiences of immigration and the importance of family that many children will enjoy for years!  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since some of the Mexican language might be a bit hard for smaller children to understand.

* 2014 Pure Belpre Honor for Narrative
* 2014 Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award for Younger Children 




  1. I'll have to look for this. My school has immigrant families, though none currently that are from Mexico.

    1. Yeah, this is a really good book to read about immigration!