Hungry Coyote, by Cheryl Blackford, illustrations by Laurie Caple; Minnesota Historical Society Press, $16.95, 32 pages, ages 3-7.

Coyotes are flourishing throughout North America, and have thoroughly adapted to urban environments – New York seems to be a perfect habitat for these nocturnal creatures, but the animals are quite at home in most cities across the country.  In Hungry Coyote, Cheryl Blackford details a year in life of a coyote constantly on the prowl for his next meal. He rummages for leftovers from a summer picnic,  forages vegetables from a garden, and even procures an old goose to feed his growing family. The writing is crisp and snappy, with just enough detail for young readers. Endnotes explain just how much real estate humans share with coyotes (it’s a lot), as well as why it’s pretty unlikely for a coyote to attack a human. (A Yorkshire Terrier relieving himself in the backyard at midnight, however, is another story.) Laurie Caple’s paintings are expertly rendered with watercolor and pastels, and are a visual treat for nature enthusiasts. Hungry Coyote is a beautiful ode to an often reviled animal, and encourages readers to appreciate (and perhaps enjoy) the fact that such a beast lives among us.  

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