Loon

Overview


The haunting call of a loon is quintessential summertime for many people. These majestically beautiful birds breed on northern lakes during the spring and summer, and when fall arrives, they migrate to open coastal waters. Young loons stay on the ocean for three or four years until they mature and their gray feathers molt, turning to the beautiful black-and-white patterned feathers by which they are known. At this point they return to an inland lake to find a mate and have ...
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Overview


The haunting call of a loon is quintessential summertime for many people. These majestically beautiful birds breed on northern lakes during the spring and summer, and when fall arrives, they migrate to open coastal waters. Young loons stay on the ocean for three or four years until they mature and their gray feathers molt, turning to the beautiful black-and-white patterned feathers by which they are known. At this point they return to an inland lake to find a mate and have their young.

This gorgeously illustrated prose poem follows two baby chicks through this cycle. We witness their birth, and how they learn to swim, find food and avoid predators such as snapping turtles and big bass, and the possible danger of boaters. In the fall they imitate their parents as they learn to fly and are eventually large and strong enough to make their own migration to the coast.

An afterword supplies other interesting facts about the common loon, which some scientists believe has inhabited lakes and oceans for millions of years. It describes these birds’ amazing diving ability, their four different calls, and the different factors that threaten them, such as loss of habitat due to human proximity and environmental problems (acid rain, deadly toxins in lakes, oil spills and global warming), suggesting different ways that we might help to protect them.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A 2012 USBBY Outstanding International Book

Short-Listed for the 2012 Information Book Award

"…a delightful celebration of nature…Highly Recommended." — CM Magazine

"This book…has a lyrical text and lush, full-color illustrations." — School Library Journal

"Loon is a celebration of a not-so-common bird and the majestic wilderness it inhabits."— Canadian Children's Book News

Children's Literature - Dianne Ochiltree
This gorgeous picture book is a delightful way to introduce youngsters to a unique member of the natural world, the loon, through its lyrical story and an afterword filled with fascinating facts. The poetic, gentle and age-appropriate text follows the life cycle of two loon chicks. This narrative begins with their emergence from eggshells through learning to swim, to finding food, to flying, to fending off predators and migrating to the ocean. They are the best of friends until their striking black-and-white feathers emerge...and they fly inland, each to find a new lake and a mate. The illustrations are as soft and enticing as the text. The artist shows the loons' environments in accurate detail as they grow from tiny downy chicks to proud adult birds. This is a perfect choice for school and library collections, as well as for vacation cottage or lake cabin shelves.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—This book follows two loon chicks from birth to maturity and has a lyrical text and lush, full-color illustrations. The acrylic-on-canvas paintings are presented from different perspectives to engage viewers-straight on, closeup, and far away. There are also underwater shots looking up from a deep fish-hunting dive and overhead shots, such as the first newly hatched chick in the nest and the shadowy underwater forms of the predatory bass and snapping turtle as the two chicks are riding safely on their parents' backs. Animals that share the loon's habitat, such as moose, beavers, and white-tailed deer, are pictured and identified on the endpapers. A warm and nurturing story of parent/chick bonding, this title will be great for storytimes as well as one-on-one sharing.—Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
Kirkus Reviews

The life cycles of two baby loons are presented in this lyrical picture book.

One late June day, a gray chick pecks and pecks her way out of her large green-and-brown spotted egg. A short time later, she has a little brother. They stay in the nest for about a month, then are ready to test the waters, literally. Sometimes they can ride on a parent's back to rest and dry off. In summer, there are dangers on the water, such as people; the offspring learn to dive deep for fish like their parents. As fall turns to winter, the parents fly away, leaving the young to fend for themselves. They grow strong and take flight just before the lake water freezes, finding a new home on the ocean with a loose flock of others. It takes a few years, but eventually the grayfeathers molt an are replaced by "checkered, striped, spotted / white and black." Now they are ready to become parents themselves and begin to listen for that distinct mating call. The book concludes with an informative essay about the loon, illustrated with depictions of five varieties, and suggestions for further reading. Reczuch's beautiful acrylic on-canvas paintings, 19 two-page spreads in all, themselves tell the story eloquently. Vande Griek's text is deft and minimal, yet, despite its free-verse form, still feels too prosaic, given the drama of the pictures.

Though the book's two components coexist uneasily, each is notable, and children in loon country will be fascinated by such a thorough exploration. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554980772
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 8/16/2011
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 765,083
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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