Ten-year-old Ginny and her mother are opening up the cabin where her family stays during the summer. On an otherwise quiet day, Ginny hears a male loon, Yudel, sparring with a younger bird over territory.
Canoeing with her friend, Wes, Ginny discovers a loon nest on an island. They quickly find themselves protecting the defenseless eggs against predators. On a later visit, Ginny finds Yudel drifting in the water, a fishing line trailing from his beak. Ginny’s attachment to the loons brings her to find inner strength.
During the summer, the loons raise three loonlings. Now faced with many dangers, Yudel and his mate, Owala, will put their courage to the test. Follow the journey of Ginny and the loons as their stories unite . . .
Targeted Age Group: 8 to 12-year-olds
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Many summers when I listened to loons and watched them. Reading nonfiction about their issues, I wanted to fictionalize a few of their real challenges and dangers.
“You saw a loon nest and you didn’t say anything?”
“And the mother loon.”
“How could you tell? It might have been the male.
Well, that’s spectacular. For a sneak.” His astonished
face turned to distrust.
“But they’re in danger! I just wanted to protect
them. What if the snapper already got their eggs?”
“We’d better check it out,” Wes said. “Show me
where it is.”
Ginny cut through the woods, in the lead for once.
They walked softly over the crunchy needles and moss.
After they saw the water shimmering through the
birches, they tiptoed to the trees near the cove. Water
lilies riffled serenely.
“There,” Ginny moved her lips. Wes moved nearer
until he saw the speckles of a loon mixed in with the
rock and bush and green leaves.
Ginny and Wes stepped back as though they were on
glare ice. They made their way back to the bank on the
other side. The snapper was parked on a flat rock, its
head in its shell.
“What can we do? I don’t see how a loon can fight
“I can. They’ve got sharp beaks. But they probably
couldn’t get rid of it. If we shove it into the water, it’ll
just swim where it wants. And then we can’t see where
it goes. I know what we could do.”
They ran to the canoe and paddled with all their might
“Those snappers are big close up. Maybe we should
tell Enid about it,” Ginny shouted.
“Then you can’t go back to the island,” Wes said.
“The loons wouldn’t be on their nest all summer.”
“What can she do? She’s not up to that snapper.
‘That’s the way of the lake.’ She’s always saying
that. She never uses my grandpa’s gun. It’s not even
loaded. And then she’ll say that if snappers are on the
island, that it’s off limits. They can bite off your finger.
We had a hulk of a camp counselor last summer who
would probably just pick it up and take it to shore. I
could probably pick it up but I don’t want it loose in the
“So what’s your idea?”
“You talk to Enid when we get to shore. Be a nature
girl. Say you saw star flowers and a gull’s nest. Say
that I’ve started going after frogs again. Leave the rest
to me. I hope she’s not in the kitchen.”
They were nearing the dock. Enid wasn’t in sight.
After docking the canoe, they ran to the cottage. They
found Enid in her living room with her dust mop.
Ginny heard Wes opening the refrigerator door as
she said hi to Enid.
About the Author:
Katherine L. Holmes lives in Duluth, Minnesota, where she does much of her writing in the winter. She also works with used books. Her first published book, The House in Windward Leaves, became a Finalist in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and in the NIEA awards. She’s had three other books published. Those and more about her can be found at her website: https://sites.google.com/site/katherinelholmesauthorprofile/