I AM COYOTE by Geri Vistein


Age Range: 10 - 14
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An imaginative re-creation of the life of one of the first coyotes to inhabit Maine.

In the late 1960s, coyotes from Canada began to migrate eastward, expanding their range. Vistein, a carnivore biologist, tells the story of one of these early migrants from the coyote’s point of view and asks readers to consider coyotes as “intelligent, sentient beings” able to experience “fear, joy, affection, loss, grief, puzzlement, and acceptance but never anger.” Vistein’s writing is impassioned and poetic as she tells of the female Coyote who travels east—facing danger from traps, traffic, guns, and dogs—to finally find a refuge in Baxter State Park. At times Vistein’s prose hits the purple end of the spectrum, and her words occasionally repeat themselves, but her sincerity in relating the beauty and cyclic nature of the natural world, and the vibrancy of those who inhabit it, is convincing. When Coyote finds a trapped coyote, she helps him to free himself (he chews off his paw). They become mates and, as seasons and years pass, raise four litters of pups. Readers learn about the complex social structure of coyotes (previous years’ siblings help out) and that life as a wild creature is often tragic—though Vistein balances the harshness of death with a wider, natural-order-of-things perspective.

A sensitive, passionate story told from an intriguing point of view. (author's note, further reading) (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-88448-466-0
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Tilbury House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2015


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