Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, are always on the move. It’s just the two of them and their retro-fitted school bus, Yager, rolling down highways and back country roads, heading wherever the mood strikes them. Never looking back, only forward to the next truck stop, gas station, campground, or sandwich shop. Sometimes they stop long enough for Coyote to take swimming lessons or make a new sort-of friend, but they never stay anywhere for long. It’s open road, all kinds of sunshine, and freedom – but it’s also kinda lonely.
So when Coyote sees the box of free kittens in the gas station parking lot, and the smallest one, the quietest one, looks at her just so, she just knows he’s coming with her, no matter what Rodeo has to say about the matter. She names her new kitten Ivan, after her favorite book, and after a rough start, even Rodeo’s in love. But the thing is, Ivan is only the beginning of the story.
A few days later, when Coyote learns that the park in her home town is being torn down – the same park where she, her mom, and her two sisters, Ava and Rose, buried a memory box five years ago – she knows she has to figure out a way to get Rodeo, Yager, and Ivan from Florida to Washington State before the park, and the box, disappear forever. Even if there is no way, no how Rodeo is going to agree to hit the trail home on his own. But sometimes, fate has its own way of bringing you home. With the help of a whole host of new folks, including an unlucky-in-love blues musician, a rescuer-from-overly-well-intentioned-people and maybe-best friend and his mom, and one very loyal goat, Coyote and Rodeo are on the road to Washington – because sometimes, going back is the only way to move forward.
This book broke my heart and stitched it back together again in all the best ways. Reading this is like settling in with a big box of fortune cookies, where each one holds a small but profound truth – and just the right amount of sweetness. With big and small adventures, kindnesses, misunderstandings, stories, and plenty of love, The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise is a middle grade must-read this summer. Author Dan Gemeinhart has a number of other books, and you better believe I’ll be adding them to my reading list too!