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Coyote’s Soundbite – a poem for our planet

John Agard, illus. Piet Grobler
Age 7-9

The rainforest is buzzing with news that the Earth goddesses are having a conference to discuss what should be done about the humans who are destroying the planet. Coyote wants to attend, undeterred by the fact this is a female only event he finds a way to take part and to make a very useful suggestion.

The striking, quirky illustrations perfectly match the text in this narrative poem.  This is a trickster tale with humour and an important theme – human responsibility for the state of the Earth.


Talk about the story

  • Look back to find clues to where the goddesses come from and plot them on a map

  • Share favourite lines from the poem and talk about why you chose them

  • Talk about any unfamiliar words and phrases and what they might mean eg globe trotter, calabash, permafrost, didgeridoo

  • Talk about what you would have said to the Earth goddesses at the conference if you had been there.

Join in
Read the story again, this time leaving spaces for children to join in with the repeated phrases.

Things to make and do

Perform the poem
Poems are meant to be read aloud, performed. Choose a favourite section, a page or two to read together and decide who will read each part – perhaps you will read some bits together. You could record your performance to hear how it sounds.

Write a soundbite
Coyote made up a rhyming soundbite. See if you can make up some more telling the people of the Earth what they need to do to improve the Earth (eg avoiding using cars or single use plastic.

Make a poster advertising the Earth conference for the animals in the rainforest
The Earth conference is an important event for the animals in the rainforest. Make a poster to go on the trees in the area advertising it.

Draw or paint your own Earth Goddess
Look back at the illustrations of the Earth Goddesses and draw one of your own. Before you begin think about where she comes from, and make up a name for her as well as what she looks like.

Make a doodle page
Look at the illustration at the back of the book filled with quick sketches of the animals of the rainforest. On a big piece of paper make you own page of quick animal sketches or doodles

Design a new disguise for Coyote
If there is another Earth Goddess conference Coyote will want to attend. What will he wear? Design a new disguise for him

Download our activity book here

Find out more

Read more books by John Agard, titles include:

Books make Good Pets with Momoko Abe

The Young Inferno illustrated by Sitoshi Kitamura

Under the Moon Over the Sea Ed with Grace Nichols

No Hickory, No Dickory, No Dock with Grace Nichols

Tiger Dead, Tiger Dead with Grace Nichols and Sitoshi Kitamura

Half Caste and other poems (for older children)

Find out more about illustrator Piet Groble

Find out about ways to celebrate Earth Day

Watch a Newsround video with messages from children ahead of the 2021 UN Climate change conference.

Find out about coyotes

Watch another story about a coyote