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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Fond memories of visits to the lake, and summers spent at a cottage are sure to conjure memories of the impressive call of the loon. These large birds live on or near lakes and marshes and their distinctive bird calls help them communicate with other loons. All of this information and more makes for an interesting theme in Lonnie the Loon Learns to Call, a children's picture book by Barbara Renner.
Lonnie is a young loon, learning all about his surroundings. He hears honking and learns that it is a goose calling for his mate. He hears quacking and learns that it's a duck calling to her ducklings. He impresses his mother with his ability to distinguish between the sounds and she decides that it is time for Lonnie's father to teach him the calls of the loon. "Lonnie," his father begins, "Our loon family makes four different sounds." He proceeds to demonstrate the four sounds and explains the purpose for each call: protection, a boat is approaching, an eagle is flying over their nest, or just having fun. Lonnie listens to each call and the reader can too, as there is an app for each call. Lonnie is a good listener. He learns quickly. When his father is finished, he practices the loon calls, showing particular pride in his "Oooo-Waaa-Oo" call.
There is a story behind every lesson to be learned. Lonnie learned his calls through his father's demonstrations and explanations. Young readers learn about all aspects of life through reading and listening, to following a good story. Barbara Renner has written just that: a good story. The book is colorfully illustrated, the illustrations themselves telling a story about the loons. There are side bars to provide basic facts about loons. The added apps to allow the young reader to actually hear the loon calls being described in the story is a real bonus. This is a delightful story for young readers that educates as well as entertains.