August 10, 2015

Hungry Coyote by Cheryl Blackford, illustrated by Laurie Caple

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 1:41 am by suebe2

Hungry Coyote
by Cheryl Blackford
illustrated by Laurie Caple
Minnesota Historical Society Press

Coyote is watchful as he sneaks past the group of people.  Down by the lake, he hunts for voles.  He sniffs and pounces but the voles get away.

Some days the hunt goes poorly, but others it goes well.  Soon the pair of coyotes have a den full of pups and the hunting continues as the seasons change.  In spring, the coyote hunts for frogs.  In the summer, he raids carelessly watched picnics.

As the seasons pass, the pups grow and the city skyline can be seen in the background.

I love so many things about this book.  The seasons aren’t the main feature but they are there, one flowing slowly into the other.  It is about urban wildlife without dwelling on buildings and pollution.  It is about an animal that people think they know a lot about while actually knowing very little.

This layering of stories is accomplished largely through the illustrations.  Snow falls.  Plants sprout.  Leaves change colors.  Snow falls again.  Coyotes go about their business and in the background readers spot street lights, a plaque on a boulder and even a curb. The illustrations are detailed enough to be interesting and engaging without looking like a science text.

One reason that I picked this book up at our local library is that I’ve seen the coyotes who live in our area.  My first thought is always that I’ve seen a dog that managed to get off his leash.  Part of this impression is that our coyotes don’t seem particularly shy.  No, they aren’t at my backdoor but I always see them trotting across the frisbee golfcourse or watching traffic go past.  The coyotes in the book are much shier than those I’ve seen but its a survival skill that has served urban coyotes well.  It is a large part of why they manage to thrive in urban settings.

Pick this up for your classroom and use it as an introduction to ecosystems and wildlife.



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