It is still dark when a mother and daughter head out to explore a North Carolinian barrier island in this shrewd, closely observed natural history. Sketch paper and watercolors at the ready, they record the unique world around them, both in paintings and note-taking, the pages of the notepads appearing as if they had fluttered down upon the handsome artwork. Readers are introduced to the salient aspects of the environment: maritime forests, the copious birdlife, yellow-bellied turtles and alligators, wind that can support the young gift as she tips forward, great heart cockles and jingle shells, mermaid's purses and ghost crabs. They witness both the bad--pollution, habitat degradation--and the good: the sublime experience of being present during a sea turtle hatch. Wright-Frierson (A Desert Scrapbook, 1996) has produced not just an admirable nature study (for that it surely is, conveying effortlessly an abundance of information in a welter of illustrations), but also a subtle, heart-gladdening love story of parent and child, who share with each other a fierce loyalty to a place, and who exhibit humility and respect toward it with no trace of sanctimony.