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2012 Winner: Children's Science Picture Book

A Seabird in the Forest: The Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet, by Joan Dunning. Boyds Mill Press, 2011.  

A Seabird in the Forest is the story of a marbled murrelet pair flying in from the swells of the Pacific Ocean to lay an egg high in the branches of a California redwood forest. The murrelet was the last bird species in North America to have its nesting site discovered, and Dunning tells the story through expressive oil paintings and sidebars about the bird’s unique lifespan and the intricate ecology of the redwoods.

“This is my first book in oils and I am thrilled with the result,” Dunning said. “I was going to illustrate the book in watercolors, like my other books, but I switched part way because I needed the weight of the oils to convey the heavy presence of the forest. Oils allowed me the time to go into great detail in the moss, the bark, and the downy feathers of the chick.”