Loon Baby

( 2 )

Overview

Atop the rippling waves—
the breeze ruffling his fluff—
Loon Baby waits, alone, 
and wonders:
Will his mother ever come back?

With sensitivity and a spare prose, first-time author Molly Beth Griffin navigates the quiet panic that Loon Baby experiences in the absence of Mama. Anne Hunter’s soft ...

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Loon Baby

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Overview

Atop the rippling waves—
the breeze ruffling his fluff—
Loon Baby waits, alone, 
and wonders:
Will his mother ever come back?

With sensitivity and a spare prose, first-time author Molly Beth Griffin navigates the quiet panic that Loon Baby experiences in the absence of Mama. Anne Hunter’s soft cross-hatched and watercolor paintings shape a serene lake-scape with varied scenes that amplify and illuminate the emotion this book captures.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Loon Baby's mother dives for dinner—"ker-splish!"—and disappears for what seems to Loon Baby a very long time. "He stuck his head under the cool waves to look./ Nothing but green lake-light." Hunter's (Who Would Like a Christmas Tree?) drawings of Loon Baby's lake are washed in gentle greens and blues and hatched with delicate ink lines. Visually, there's little to be frightened of, but Loon Baby's spirits sink low ("Loon Baby wailed a cry.../ a sinking, giving-up cry") before Mama reappears: "But then—/ A black head!/ A red eye!" In a final development, Loon Baby's relief makes the intimidating work of diving possible at last. Debut author Griffin does a good job of keeping the story's action and tension manageable, and the lyrical and rhythmic possibilities in simple language are thoughtfully developed: "together/ they kick-flipped/ through the green lake-light,/ all the way home.../ to their soft, warm nest/ by the little round lake/ in the great north woods." While understated, the story has a sturdy quality that should stand up to repeated read-alouds. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"This lovely picture book addresses a child's fear of abandonment and offers the reassurance of a mother's love." —Booklist

"Guaranteed to hit the mark with anyone who's ever felt lost and alone." —Kirkus Reviews

"While understated, the story has a sturdy quality that should stand up to repeated read-alouds."— Publishers Weekly

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
In this reassuring story of mother and child, a baby loon lives with his mother by a lake in the great north woods. In the middle of the lake, the baby watches Mama Loon dive for his dinner. Then he waits, and looks underneath the waves for her, since he cannot dive yet. He paddles, waits, and wonders whether she has encountered a hostile moose or turtle; for she has never been gone this long. He keeps looking for her, fearing she may not return. With the arrival of cold wind and rain, he forgets about dinner but does not know how to get home. He shivers and begins to cry. But then his mother is there, with a fish for his dinner. And the baby loon can dive with her back home "...to their soft, warm nest...in the great north woods." The dense, somewhat simplified green landscape filling the double pages along with the few close-ups of the baby loon is created with sensitivity using black ink lines and watercolors, all detailed with modified naturalism. The terse text and large typeface suggest an invitation for the young reader. The final scene with the sun setting and the mother and baby cozily together brings the story to a satisfying conclusion. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-K—Griffin follows a baby loon as he swims with his mother to the middle of a little round lake in the great north woods. Mama dives for his dinner and disappears under the waves while Loon Baby, who cannot dive yet, waits impatiently above. He tries unsuccessfully to join her, then heads toward home, but cannot find their nest. Finally, cold, hungry, and afraid, he does what any young child would do. His loud, distinctive cries alert his mother, who returns with his dinner; then he happily dives "deep under the rippling waves" with Mama behind "and together they kick-flipped through the green lake-light, all the way home...." Hunter's heavily cross-hatched watercolor panoramas of the northern wilderness show various animals indigenous to the area—snapping turtle, great blue heron, brown bear, moose, great horned owl, beaver, bullfrog—in a carefully crafted folk-art style. Brief, large text and artwork blend nicely. This gentle story of a young bird's fears of being abandoned by an out-of-sight parent offers reassurance to children in a similar situation.—Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews - Kikus Reviews

When Baby Loon's mother fails to return, he faces a frightening experience. Baby and Mama Loon live in a soft, warm nest on a small lake in the great north woods. One day Mama submerges to find dinner since Baby can't dive yet. As he waits, Baby paddles and floats, but soon he's worried. Mama's never been gone so long. Determined to find her, Baby puts his head under the water and flip-kicks his feet, making wee dives. When it starts raining, Baby realizes he's "tired and hungry, cold and wet and lonely, andlost," and emits a "sinking, giving-up cry." Suddenly a familiar head surfaces with Baby's dinner in her beak, and a relieved Baby shows off his new kick-flip all the way home. The simple text tracks Baby's progression from waiting to worrying to fear to anguish while loosely rendered watercolors in blues, greens and grays textured with pen-and-ink cross-hatch visually follow Baby's descent into despair. Close-ups show worried Baby repeatedly dipping underwater, his web feet kick-flipping as he frantically searches. Aerial views emphasize Baby's solitary state as his tiny form paddles alone. In one double-page spread, a stunned Baby bobs amid choppy waves, and in another, a drenched, agonized Baby wails. Guaranteed to hit the mark with anyone who's ever felt lost and alone.(Picture book. 4-8)

Kirkus Reviews

When Baby Loon's mother fails to return, he faces a frightening experience. Baby and Mama Loon live in a soft, warm nest on a small lake in the great north woods. One day Mama submerges to find dinner since Baby can't dive yet. As he waits, Baby paddles and floats, but soon he's worried. Mama's never been gone so long. Determined to find her, Baby puts his head under the water and flip-kicks his feet, making wee dives. When it starts raining, Baby realizes he's "tired and hungry, cold and wet and lonely, andlost," and emits a "sinking, giving-up cry." Suddenly a familiar head surfaces with Baby's dinner in her beak, and a relieved Baby shows off his new kick-flip all the way home. The simple text tracks Baby's progression from waiting to worrying to fear to anguish while loosely rendered watercolors in blues, greens and grays textured with pen-and-ink cross-hatch visually follow Baby's descent into despair. Close-ups show worried Baby repeatedly dipping underwater, his web feet kick-flipping as he frantically searches. Aerial views emphasize Baby's solitary state as his tiny form paddles alone. In one double-page spread, a stunned Baby bobs amid choppy waves, and in another, a drenched, agonized Baby wails. Guaranteed to hit the mark with anyone who's ever felt lost and alone.(Picture book. 4-8)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547254876
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/21/2011
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,445,644
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Molly Beth Griffin is a graduate of Hamline University's MFA program in writing for children and a teacher at the Loft Literary Center. She lives in South Minneapolis with her family. Loon Baby is her first book and it was the winner of the Barbara Kneutson Award at Hamline University . Visit her website at www.mollybethgriffin.com.

Anne Hunter lives on a farm in Vermont. Since attending Earlham College and graduating from the University of the Arts, she has worked full-time as an illustrator, well-known for her nature illustrations. Hunter has written and illustrated many children’s books, including Possum's Harvest Moon.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    My Review: It was time for dinner so Mama Loon took baby Loon to the middle of the lake so she can look for dinner for him. While she dove into the lake he waited for his mother to return. Baby Loon started to worry when his mother did not show up and she has never gone this long before. ¿He stuck his head under the cool waves to look. Nothing but green lake-light.¿ He became frightened, has his mother encountered a hostile moose or turtle?

    The story tells how baby Loon learned to dive while looking for his mother. And even though he was frightened he overcame his fear so he can keep searching for his mother. Was he able to find his mother? Imagine getting separated from you child, that is frightened. Great soft cross hatched and watercolor paintings by the illustrator. The frightened look on baby Loon tells the story. I highly recommend this book for your child¿s library and for classroom reading.


    FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion in any way.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 21, 2011

    A delightful, evocative trip to the north woods with suspense and a satisfying ending!

    This book is so descriptive of the look and feel of the north woods and northern lakes. The baby loon is sweet and brave, and the mama is reassuring though mysterious. A lovely story about separation and reunion, attachment and independence. And beautiful to look at. Lots of detail for little ones to discuss and ponder.

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