Loon Child introduces a variety of the cuisine from the northern lake regions of Wisconsin and Minnesota. If you create an "outdoors" menu for your gathering check out the recipes link to find recipes introduced in the story.
1. Imagine yourself in Tom's shoes as he discovers Joseph, abandoned in the wild. What strategy would you have chosen to convince Joseph to leave with you? Tom was able to keep calm and tried not to frighten Joseph, how difficult would that have been? Do you feel Tom took the appropriate steps after he found Joseph?
2. Tom made a difficult decision when he chose to take a leave from his job to take Joseph in as a foster child. If Tom chose to go in the opposite direction and had turned down taking in Joseph, do you think he would have been haunted with not knowing Joseph's future?
3. A loon guided Tom to Joseph. Was it a coincidence the loon went to the island? Samuel believed it was a spirit of a person who passed that returned in a form of the loon to rescue Joseph. If you believe in Samuel's analogy, whose spirit do you believe it was?
4. Lily, having in her possesion Tom's family Christmas card mystified Tom and Roy. What was your first reaction as you read this?
5. Have you ever lived on or visited a Native American reservation? If not, what surprised you with the author's description of the Lac Coutre Oreilles Reservation?
6. The Ojibwe Nation migrated from the east coast along the great lakes searching for the "grass that grew on water". When they found wild rice they knew they had found the land they were meant to live on. When reading about Tom's first visit to the reservation were you surprised on how wild rice was harvest? Have you ever tasted wild rice? If so, in what form and did you like it?
7. Lily's parents were more concerned of their status in their community than the welfare of their daughter and grandchild. Do you think Lily's parents ever regretted their actions? If Lily grew up in a large city instead of a small town, do you think her parents would have reacted the same way?
8. Lily's behavior was far from acceptable parenting. What do you believe her thoughts were as she decided to leave Joseph on the island? Judy felt it was due to her desperation, combined with her medication and illness that clouded her judgement. How would you describe Lily's behavior? Would you have been able to forgive her for her actions as Tom did?
9. Samuel had spent his life evaluating and listening to nature's unique teachings. His ancestry of reading nature's behavior was taught to him as a child. He had a spiritual connection with nature. His stories were partly tales from generations before him combined with observations he personally experienced. With the author's description could you imagine yourself listening to one of Samuel's stories? Have you ever met a true storyteller that resembles traits of Samuel?
10. Were you surprised Tom and Samuel finally made peace? Do you feel either's animosity towards each other was warranted?
11. Do you actually believe loons make calls at night that circle around the perimeter of a lake?