Skip to product information
1 of 1

Secrets of the Loon

Secrets of the Loon

Regular price $ 16.95

Get 10% off with a membership

Regular price $ 16.95 Sale price $ 16.95

Get an additional 10% off with a membership

Sale Sold out

Author Laura Purdie Salas, Author Chuck Dayton

Minnesota Historical Society Press (May 1, 2020)

Vivid depictions in words and photos illuminate the mysterious world of loons, viewed through the lens of a chick learning how to survive— and thrive—in her first year.


Watch: MNHS Storytime "Secrets of the Loon"

Below white pines, at water’s edge, in guarded nest of mud and sedge, squeezed inside an olive egg, bill meets wing meets folded leg.

With these few words, the scene is set for the hatching of Moon Loon. During her first summer with her parents and brother in the northland, Moon Loon has a lot to learn. Mom and Dad teach essential lessons, like how to catch and eat fish, how to avoid becoming a snack for snapping turtles, and what songs to sing and when. Moon Loon also discovers her secret skills, like how to float, how to dive, and—eventually—how to fly.

Laura Purdie Salas’s poetic recounting of a loon’s adventurous first summer celebrates the piney northern landscape and features the gradual development and occasional drama that fills Moon Loon’s days. Supplementary back matter by Chuck Dayton highlights fascinating details of loon biology and ecology, gleaned from expert sources as well as observation. Dayton spent five summers photographing loons from his kayak on a northern Minnesota lake, capturing key moments in the lives of these iconic birds.

Combining imaginative language and striking photography, Secrets of the Loon introduces readers to the sights, sounds, and survival strategies of Minnesota’s state bird.

WATCH the book trailer!

Author information

Laura Purdie Salas has written more than 130 books for kids, including Animal Babies and Their Families; Water Can Be . . . ; and Snowman – Cold = Puddle: Spring Equations.

As an environmental lawyer, Chuck Dayton protected the landscapes and animals he now observes, camera in hand.

Reviews and news

"This marvelous collaboration between Chuck Dayton and Laura Purdie Salas is a succinct combination of poetry, well-researched science, the art of photography, and book design. . . . This is a book to learn from, get lost in, refer to, to return to, a capsule of the mystery of natures design. It reminds us that what we carry inside, our respect and love for the planet that is our home and our beginning, is where we begin." Review by Polly Carlson-Voiles and Steve Voiles in View from Listening Point, newsletter of the Listening Point Foundation

Winner of the 2021 Riverby Award

Named to the Bank Street list of Best Children's Books of 2021

Kirkus Reviews

KUMD MN Reads with Chuck Dayton

Also featured in the following blogs: Wrapped in Foil; Jena Benton; Live Your Poem; Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme; Sierra Club North Star Chapter; Today's Little Ditty/Classroom Connection; Reflections on the Teche; Write Time; Teacher Dance.

Related resources

Free Activity Sheets on author Laura Purdie Salas's website

WATCH more loon photos by Chuck Dayton

LISTEN to Loon Calls


  • 32 pages
  • Fully illustrated
  • 8 x 10 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681341583

Want to get updates about MNHS Press books, news, and events?
View full details