Groundwood Books


Illustrated by Karen Reczuch • Written by Susan Vande Griek

For readers 4 - 7 years old | Published August 21, 2011 | ISBN 9781554980772

Cover of Loon

Regular price $18.95 CAD

48 pages | 11 in × 8.75 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book


Karen Reczuch • Susan Vande Griek

Winner of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Picture Book Award, the TD Norma Fleck Award, the Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable Information Book Award, and a USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor Book. Nominated for an OLA Silver Birch Express Tree Award and a Midwest Booksellers Choice Award.

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. Also included are suggestions for further reading and endpapers featuring illustrations of many other animals shown throughout the book that can be found in the loon's habitat.

Both the text and the illustrations have been carefully checked by an ornithologist for scientific accuracy.

Susan Vande Griek's simple, poetic text has been beautifully illustrated by Karen Reczuch, who received high praise for her work in award-winning Salmon Creek, a similar picture book focusing on the life cycle of an intriguing animal.

About the Creators

Karen Reczuch

Karen Reczuch has illustrated many award-winning children’s books. Her recent works include Turtle Pond by James Gladstone and West Coast Wild by Deborah Hodge, which won the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award. She has also illustrated The Auction by Jan Andrews, a Governor General’s Award finalist; Just Like New by Ainslie Manson, winner of the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award; and Salmon Creek, winner of the BC Book Prize. Karen’s work includes scientific, historical and archaeological illustration, and has been exhibited internationally. Karen lives in Lake Country, BC.

Susan Vande Griek

Susan Vande Griek is the author of a number of highly acclaimed children’s books. Her picture book Loon, illustrated by Karen Reczuch, was named a USBBY Outstanding International Book and won the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award, the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction and the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award. More recently, she has written Go Home Bay, illustrated by Pascal Milelli, a glimpse into the life of the artist Tom Thomson. A longtime resident of the Maritimes, Susan has recently moved to Kingston, Ontario.

Awards and Praise
  • Winner Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Picture Book Award, 2012
  • Commended 2012 USBBY Outstanding International Book, 2012
  • Long-listed Midwest Booksellers Choice Award, 2012
  • Long-listed OLA Tree Awards, 2013
  • Winner Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction, 2012
  • Winner The Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award, 2012