Friday, August 14, 2015

Hungry Coyote

by Cheryl Blackford
Illustrations by Laurie Caple
Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2015. Picture Book

It is the dead of winter in the woods near the edge of a city. A lonely coyote scavenges for food, with little success. As winter turns to spring, we learn that Coyote is not alone – he provides for a mate and a litter of newborn pups. We follow Coyote and his family through the four seasons as they play, grow, and sometimes interact with humans. They hide from the rain, steal hot dogs from a barbecue, and celebrate the autumn by eating a Canada goose. By the story’s end, winter approaches again, and Coyote prepares for the cycle once more. 

Hungry Coyote is full of lyrical writing that, through rhythm and repetition, helps immerse the reader in Coyote’s world. That world is not so wild, though – there are persistent reminders of how close to a city full of busy people Coyote lives. Those humans never quite enter Coyote’s spaces, as Caple’s lush illustrations maintain a respectful distance between the coyotes and us. This book beautifully reveals how our wild neighbors may not be as far away (or as different from us) as we think.

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