Gavia Immer, Splendid Swimmer - a Read and Color Book about Loons


In 1983 Joan Cox and Linda Mazanec were young stay-at-home moms with small children. Each of their families had lake cabins, but in decidedly different settings. The Cox cabin was on Leech Lake in Northern Minnesota, one of the largest lakes in the state while the Mazanec cabin was on a very small lake in northwestern Wisconsin.  Both families treasured their “lake time” and loved exploring and observing nature.  They had come to love loons from their lake cottage experiences.

 Over coffee one day, Joan and Linda compared notes about what they had seen that year and were surprised to learn how different their loon experiences and observations were.  Ever the bibliophile, Linda decided to find a book about loons so they and their families could learn more.  She was surprised to find no books!  Naturally, they decided to make their own book; one that would give the facts in an accessible format.

Linda wrote the text, consulting everything from entries in bird identification guides to the Oxford English Dictionary.  Joan poured over photographs, drawings, and paintings, sketching loons in various situations.  Marc Cox, Joan’s husband, composed the poem from which the book’s title is taken.  It incorporates several of the facts about loons found in the book, and seeks to give a sense of the mystery which the loon’s call communicates to hearers on moonlit summer nights.

Wanting to make the book a true Minnesota product, they had the book printed in Alexandria, Minnesota. Starting out with 2,000 copies, they were pleasantly surprised to sell out the first printing within one month.  During the next several years they sold 12,000 copies of the book, marketing it to gift shops and bookstores in the upper Midwest and New England. 

By the early 1990s their children were in school and other interests/activities called them.  Joan went on to pursue her career as an artist, doing graduate studies at the University of Minnesota and Hamline University. She has shown in galleries in Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Florida, Ireland, and France. She continues to receive many awards and participate in numerous art shows.

After earning her Master’s Degree in Library Media Education, Linda became a school library media specialist.  She worked with children at all age levels, from elementary through high school.

In 2013 Linda and Joan decided it was time to republish, realizing there was a whole new generation of children – and adults – who would like and appreciate their book.  After a few minor changes/ refinements they again decided to “go local” and chose Impressive Print in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to produce the book.

common loon, facts about loons, northern loon, loon coloring book, loon state bird, coloring book about loons, gavia immer splendid swimmer, read and color book about loons, Minnesota state bird, state birds, loon behavior, loon facts, loon poems,  Joan G. Cox, Linda K. Mazanec
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