Black Nell: The Adventures of a Coyote


89 pages
Contains Maps
ISBN 0-88899-319-6
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Celia Godkin
Reviewed by Deborah Dowson

Deborah Dowson is a children’s librarian who has recently relocated to
North Wales, Pennsylvania.


Of the four Eastern coyote pups to leave their parents’ den, Nell is
the only one to survive her first year. Although Nell faces threats from
animal predators, including an eagle, a bear, and a wolf, by far the
greatest threat to her existence is that posed by humans. Nell is shot
by hunters, escapes a steel-jaw trap, flees a forest fire caused by
careless campers, and is hit by a car. She survives the car accident
with the help of the Toronto Wildlife Centre and is released into the
wild where she happily finds a mate and makes a new beginning to her

Coyotes are becoming more prevalent in populated areas of Southern
Ontario. This book is a wonderful introduction to the ways of this wild
neighbor. The narrative describes many coyote behaviors, such as hunting
tactics and social organization, though much more emphasis is given to
the hardships they face. Behind the eventful plot is a clear intention
to elicit sympathy for the coyote’s plight. Although characterization
and description are somewhat stiff, the book is well researched and
informative. Recommended as a fictional resource to complement a
primary-level study of coyotes.


Woods, Shirley E., “Black Nell: The Adventures of a Coyote,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 22, 2024,