Nature Brings Fairytale to Life

by | Jun 2024

Finding Family: The 
Duckling Raised by Loons

Who can resist a duckling on a book cover? Not this reader! But this is an unusual duckling indeed. Finding Family: The Duckling Raised by Loons tells the charming true story of loons parenting a mallard duckling.

Loon researchers first observed this duckling riding piggyback on a loon in a Wisconsin lake in 2019, and local author Laura Purdie Salas has captured the story for children and families in this picture book illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis.

How did the loon parents end up with a mallard duckling? As the book tells us, “Nobody knows.” But we do know a lot about how this trio spent the summer.

While relaying facts about loons and mallard ducks and their typical behavior, the lyrical text also highlights the mystery of this situation in a way that beautifully blends nonfiction with wonder.

Finding Family has been recognized with a Charlotte Zolotow Award for best picture book text and named a Minnesota Book Award Finalist, among other honors. As ducks and loons begin their return to our lakes, Finding Family is a perfect family read.

Finding Family: The Duckling Raised by Loons by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis Millbrook Press, 2023

Contributed by Megan Maynor, children’s book author, Minnesota Book Award Finalist and Minnesota Youth Reading Awards Nominee. Find her at


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