Finding Family: The Duckling Raised by Loons

Millbrook. Mar. 2023. 32p. Tr $20.99. ISBN 9781728442990.
PreS-Gr 3–In this heartwarming true story, an orphaned duckling finds a new family in the form of a pair of nesting loons, who lost their own eggs. Based on real events that took place in 2019, this story follows the unusual trio throughout the course of a summer. The loons provide the helpless duckling with necessities, including food, shelter, and protection. A combination of text and illustration humorously present the distinctions between the species, particularly when a strange new bird approaches the lake; loons typically hide in the event of outsiders, while in this case, duckling made quite a spectacle. Salas’s straightforward text presents the differences between loon and mallard behavior that will certainly spark fruitful discussion among readers in addition to serving as inspiration for further research on natural science topics. Neonakis’s digital illustrations not only capture the beauty of the lake setting but also depict the life cycles and behaviors of the birds. Back matter includes further information about the research project that provided the basis for the story, an uplifting and thoughtful explanation for the narrative’s ambiguous conclusion, as well as a comparison between the two species of birds.
VERDICT An entertaining and informative story that will find a home in many collections.

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