By the light of the moon, a coyote quietly prowls through a suburban neighborhood, hunting for food for her family.
This simple, lyrical text stresses the senses: Coyote listens, she sniffs, she looks. Short sentences and long pauses, indicated by page turns, mirror the animal's stealthy progress and sudden attacks. Ibatouilline's shadowy paintings enhance the tension. Each detail of fur, feathers, and foliage is clearly delineated, yet almost all the action takes place in the near-dark. Finally, just as the sun comes up, Coyote successfully takes a turkey. Watched through the window by a curly-haired, light-brown–skinned child, the hunter sings, "Yeeeep-yip-yip-yoooo!" Two pages of “Coyote Facts” at the end offer further information about these wolflike predators’ ubiquity and flexibility in food habits and habitat and suggest further reading and websites. The dark illustrations and potentially upsetting subject matter make this title more suited for lap-sharing than storytime, but the author and illustrator have handled the predator-prey encounters sensitively. A striking double-page spread shows the coyote leaping on a mouse—“POUNCE!”—but the mouse escapes. The turkey’s feathers obscure his final moments in the coyote’s mouth. Even collections that include Cheryl Blackford and Laurie Caple’s Hungry Coyote (2015) will want these incredible illustrations.
“Yip-yip-yip-yip!” indeed, for this sympathetic portrayal of a not-often-celebrated creature who shares our world. (Informational picture book. 4-8)