Seabird in the Forest: Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet written and illustrated by Joan Dunning caught my eye because my family and I had become enamored with similar birds, the ancient murrelets, when we watched The Life of Birds with David Attenborough. It turns out the story of the marbled murrelets is even more amazing. Dunning reveals that it was only recently discovered these little sea birds fly long distances, sometimes more than 50 miles, to nest in old growth forests.
The main story follows two parent murrelets raising a chick. Many of the pages include sidebars within the illustrations with many more fascinating details about the birds and their habitat. Even the endpapers (front and back are different) are filled with intriguing facts and more information about the trees the birds nest in. For budding scientists, the author has included snippets of information about how biologists study these elusive creatures.
Joan Dunning illustrated the book with oils, as she says in her website, to capture the darker, heavier feel of the forests. She says she got the idea for the book when she saw the parent murrelets bringing food to their chick while she was working on Secrets of the Nest a decade ago. We are glad she did!
It is always fun to reinforce learning with some hands-on activities:
- Celebrate Joan Dunning’s illustrations by drawing or painting pictures of marbled murrelets
- Participate in citizen science projects, like the Backyard Bird Count
- Have your children try building their own bird nest and other ideas at Growing With Science
- Explore a tree activity
- If you are interested in helping with conservation, the National Park Service has a page with ideas and posters for children to color. The main thrust is to help keep predators of murrelets from becoming too much of a problem.
Intrigued? Check out this video from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more information about the incredible marbled murrelets.
For another review, be sure to visit Archimedes Notebook
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (April 1, 2011) +
Reading level: Picture book Ages 4-8
STEM Friday is hosted today at NC Teacher Stuff. Stop over for links to more excellent STEM books.
If you would like to participate in the future, go to Chapter Book of the Day for a list of STEM Friday hosts.