________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 6 . . . .November 9, 2007


Looking for Loons.

Jennifer Lloyd. Illustrated by Kirsti Anne Wakelin.
Vancouver, BC: Simply Read Books, 2007.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-894965-54-5.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Carole Marion.

**** /4


Autumn looms, and in a lakeside cottage, various sounds wake the members of Patrick's family:

The first morning rays streamed into the children's room and danced on Patrick's pillow. Patrick woke up. He slipped on his cozy housecoat sand blue striped slippers. Carefully, he reached for the binoculars on the bedside table.

He crept past his sleeping sister, Emily.

"Creak," went the floorboard. Emily heard the noise.

"Where are you going?" she mumbled, yawning.

"To look for loons," whispered Patrick.

"Flip flop," went Emily's fuzzy slippers as she followed her older brother down the hallway.

Patrick gently turned the handle of the big oak door.

"Screech," went the door as it opened up onto the front porch overlooking the lake.

Grandma heard the noise. She put on her plaid dressing gown. Tiptoeing past snoring Grandpa, she headed to the porch.

"See any loons?" asked Grandma, settling into a wooden deck chair beside her grandchildren.

"Not yet," said Patrick.

Emily climbed into Grandma's lap while Patrick kept a close eye on the lake.

     One by the one, the members of Patrick's family join him on the deck, scanning the lake and listening for the distinctive sound of the loon. And one by one, his sister, parents and grandparents move to the kitchen to prepare for breakfast, with its cacophony of noises blending with the symphony of natural sounds. Left alone on the porch, Patrick waits patiently, and only after the beaver's smacking tail upon the water, the chipmunks' playful sounds in the woodpile, the woodpecker's tapping beak on a maple tree and the swoosh of a canoe in the distance is his patience rewarded.

Just then a family of beautiful black and white checkered birds came into view.

"Smack," went one bird as it dove deep into the water.

"Caooooooom," went another, calling out to its family.

"Loons!" Patrick cried, jumping up from his seat.

After the last of the loons sailed past the cottage, Patrick happily went in to join the pancake feast.

internal art     Beautifully illustrated by Kirsti Anne Wakelin along the same vein as Sheryl McFarlane's A Pod of Orcas, with soft pastel shades and meticulous detail, this visual treat complements the brief text that depicts the calm nature of cottage life. The closeness of the family is evident in the way the members prepare the meal together, and all are attuned to Patrick's interest in seeing the loons. Looking for Loons is a gentle story uncluttered by any evidence of technology; no telephones here, no computers or television. Set in current times, it resonates with the slow pace and simplicity of an early autumn morning in a rural setting. It lends itself to reading aloud, as well as one-on-one quiet time between parent - or grandparent - and child.

Highly Recommended.

Carole Marion is the customer service manager of a Calgary Public Library branch. A former youth librarian, she has been working with children, parents and educators for over 20 years.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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