Loon by Susan Vande Griek

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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.

About Susan Vande Griek

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Pascal Milelli's illustration clients include Harper's, The Atlantic, and Scribner Books. His picture book, The Art Room, by Susan Vande Griek, received the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award from the Canadian Library Association in 2003. Pascal lives in Vancouver, Canada.
Published August 16, 2011 by Groundwood Books. 48 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Children's Books.

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As fall turns to winter, the parents fly away, leaving the young to fend for themselves.

Aug 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Loon

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