Coyote Moon

Maria Gianferrari, illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline. Roaring Brook, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62672-041-1
Quietly poetic text and show-stopping artwork create a tense account of a coyote's nocturnal search for food. Gianferrari (the Penny & Jelly books) instantly establishes an atmospheric setting, opening as "Coyote wakes in her den,/ a hollowed-out pine in a cemetery." Ibatoulline's paintings, always impressive, are downright astonishing in this book. He opts for a worm's-eye view in this opening scene, showing Coyote padding along as tombstones loom beside scraggly pines, moonlight filtering eerily through cloud cover. Paying near-photographic attention to the modulating light as daybreak approaches, as well as Coyote's feathery fur and the suburban neighborhood she prowls, Ibatoulline (A Little Women Christmas) follows the predator's failed attempts to secure a mouse, rabbit, and geese eggs—including a dramatic, startling "pounce!" scene—before finally capturing a turkey to feed her family. Structured like verse, Gianferrari's crisp sentences are simultaneously graceful and matter-of-fact in their observations ("Coyote threads through rusty reeds"), and a closing section of "coyote facts" goes into greater detail about how and where the canines live. Ages 4–8. Author's agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator's agency: Gallt and Zacker Literary. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/13/2016
Release date: 07/19/2016
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