Finding Family: The Duckling Raised by Loons


Product Details

$20.99  $19.52
Millbrook Press (Tm)
Publish Date
10.2 X 9.5 X 0.6 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Laura Purdie Salas is the author of more than one hundred books for children, including Water Can Be... and If You Were the Moon. Poetry and rhyming nonfiction books are her favorite things to write. For more information, visit

Alexandria Neonakis is an illustrator and designer from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She currently lives with her cat, "Kitty," in Santa Monica, California.


"An orphaned duckling finds the perfect parents.

Salas spins a spare, credible backstory for a 2019 discovery by researchers of a pair of nesting loons in Wisconsin and their surprising baby--a mallard duckling. Their own young perhaps eaten by predators, the loons focus on a lone duck hatchling nearby and, over the course of the summer, provide the necessities: food and protection. Neonakis' straightforward, clean-lined illustrations offer a clear look at loons and the duckling: their distinguishing coloring and body shapes. The differences in the expected behavior of ducklings versus loon chicks are emphasized in the simple text and put readers in the role of observers. Loon chicks 'take food from their parents, ' while mallards don't, and mallards don't dive for their food, 'but Duckling does.' While young loons typically hide upon seeing strange animals (loons are territorial, backmatter explains), Duckling makes a racket in one of the amusingly incongruous moments. Loon babies ride on the backs of either parent while young, and the growing Duckling, its down turning to more substantial feathers, riding on a loon's back is sweetly funny. Backmatter expands the comparison of loon and mallard characteristics and behaviors. Salas offers a philosophical note about the inconclusive ending--loons and ducks migrate as the seasons turn, and it's not known what happened next--but leaves the thought that both the duckling and loon parents created a family together. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Engaging natural science for the very young."--Kirkus Reviews

-- (12/15/2022 12:00:00 AM)