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The Last Loon (Orca Young Readers) Paperback – October 1, 2010

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–6—Eleven-year-old Evan has a lot to learn about the Canadian wilderness as well as about his odd Aunt Meg with whom he finds himself spending the Christmas holidays. His undisciplined behavior precluded going with his mom to visit his sick grandmother, and his father is working in the diamond mines. A city child, Evan knows or cares little about the animals and backcountry that are the core of his aunt's life and work. She has even spent a few days in jail for assaulting a poacher and Evan thinks of her as an ex-con. As lowering temperatures cause the lakes to freeze, Meg and her neighbors become concerned with the fate of a loon that has not left on its winter migration. Staying on the frozen lake means sure death. In spite of himself, Evan becomes increasingly involved and his first attempt to rescue the bird causes him to nearly fall through the ice. Learning responsibility and preparedness, he eventually saves the stranded creature and earns the respect of his aunt. Along the way, he plays some excellent hockey, drives a snowmobile, makes new friends, and even learns some lessons about feminism. The basic "boy learns to love nature" adventure story is handicapped by some preachy tutorials about global warming, solar power, endangered species, poaching, and other wildlife concerns, although the author sees no harm in an 11-year-old flying through the wilderness on a snowmobile. A marginal purchase for collections needing materials featuring young male characters.—Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, formerly at Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NY
(c) Copyright 2011.  Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


"The Canadian wilderness is portrayed here as an antidote to the city life Evan leaves behind; it is the kind of place where each person does his or her share of the work and relishes the simple joys of companionship and the beauty of the natural world. A beginning chapter book with a good story and a clear environmental agenda." (Kirkus Reviews 2010-09-15)

"The short chapters and accessible vocabulary will make this novel a good choice for readers who have made the transition to chapter books. The writer explores themes of: relationships, environmental responsibility, loon and wolf biology, animal rights, biodiversity, renewable energy sources, sustainability and the ecology of Canada's North. Recommended." (CM Magazine 2010-09-17)

"This exciting novel keeps the reader questioning to the finish. Information abounds about the loons, wolves, and turtles all found in the lake regions in Ontario and other parts of Canada. Though the story moves at a fast pace, the characters are sensitively developed…This novel would complement Canadian studies and should promote interesting discussion on wildlife survival." (Resource Links 2010-10-01)

"Evan learns important lessons about nature, environmentally sustainable living, and the danger of making rash judgments about people." (Library Media Connection 2011-01-01)

"Refreshingly modern. Upjohn has created a multi-dimensional 11-year old character...[and] because he is so easy to relate to, the reader absorbs knowledge right along with Evan." (Canadian Children's Book News 2011-08-01)

"Readers may find themselves with their hearts in their throats as time begins to run out for the loon...The cast of eccentric but lovable characters...builds the suspense...This excellent book combines great characters with a well-written, suspenseful plot that will keep readers turning pages as fast as they can read them." (Canadian Literature 2012-04-01)

"Like most Orca Young Readers books, this is a novel with interesting characters and a fast moving plot that should catch the interest of its readers...Characters grow as the plot unfolds [and] they learn to work together." (BookLinx 2012-01-30)

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 6
  • Lexile Measure: 510L (What's this?)
  • Series: Orca Young Readers
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155469292X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554692927
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,686,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Any young reader will enjoy this story of a young boy growing up a little while stranded for two weeks at his quirky aunt's house in a Canadian forest. Evan learns to care about a stranded loon, and through this also learns to appreciate the natural world, build trust, and develop friendships. There are wonderful moments such as listening to wolves at night, and important themes of endangered wildlife and climate change are well-placed throughout. When Evan is forced to attempt a dangerous rescue to save the last loon's life, the story gets pretty scary! Definately will recommend this to my own young reader's teachers and classmates, and hope for more wonderful stories set in Canada from this author soon.
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