A beautiful tribute to a much-maligned animal with which we share our world.

HUNGRY COYOTE

We share our cities with coyotes.

This masterfully illustrated appreciation follows a coyote that lives near a lakeshore in an urban park through four seasons of hunting for food for himself and his family. Extensive alliteration and the repetition of phrase patterns characterize a text that reads like poetry and describes the activities of the coyote and those of the oblivious children playing in the park. During a summer storm, for instance, the children “jump, twirl, and umbrella-whirl,” while the coyote “herds his playful pups to shelter.” There are sounds and smells and surprising sensory imagery: “Wind whirls autumn’s litter into rustling piles.” Coyote’s foraging is not always successful. He tries and fails to catch a vole. But he grabs sausages from a summer picnic, and in the fall, he catches an old Canada goose to feed a family that now includes six growing pups. Usually foregrounding the coyote, Caple’s realistic paintings also document the changing seasons, from midwinter to winter’s onset again. Each spread has a few lines of text; occasionally an onomatopoetic sound word swoops across the image. One icy blue spread is nearly empty; the coyote “howls for spring” in the distance. His is not an easy life, and readers will come away with sympathy and appreciation.

A beautiful tribute to a much-maligned animal with which we share our world. (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-87351-964-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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