Tomorrow is the book birthday for a beautiful new picture book, Secrets of the Loon by Laura Purdie Salas and Charles Dayton.
Loons are water birds that live in lakes in northern North America in the summer where they dive under the water to catch fish and other small swimming animals. They are known for their haunting calls that travel great distances over the water, and for their striking black and white plumage.
According to a recent interview with Chuck Dayton, Secrets of the Loon started with his amazing photographs of loons taken over years spent at a family retreat on a lake in Minnesota. He wasn’t, however, used to writing for children, so his editor brought fellow Minnesotan and prolific children’s author/poet Laura Purdie Salas on board to write the main text. The combination is a winning one.
The main story, which is written in rhyme, follows the life of a loon named Moon from hatching to taking off for her first migration flight.
Below white pines at water’s edge,
in guarded nest of mud and sedge,
squeezed inside an olive egg,
bill meets wing meets folded leg.
Dayton’s original text is included as four pages of back matter, revealing some amazing facts. For example, loons have heavy bodies, which makes it hard for them to lift off out of the water. Once in flight, however, they can fly faster than a cheetah can run. Wow!
Secrets of the Loon is a must-read for budding ornithologists, especially ones who live near lakes where loons swim. It is also a treat for the rest of us who wish we could visit a cold lake and listen to these fascinating birds. Dive into the book today!
- Hear how the book came about in an interview with Chuck Dayton at Minnesota Reads.
- Explore more information and download free activity sheets at Laura’s website
- Make a loon collage
- Write a poem about your favorite bird
- Listen to and watch loons online at www.loon.org
- or in this video from Cornell:
Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press (April 28, 2020)
Interested in more children’s books about birds? Check our growing list at Science Books for Kids.
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Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.