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Rachel: The Story of Rachel Carson
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Rachel: The Story of Rachel Carson

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by Amy Ehrlich, Wendell Minor (Illustrator)

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Rachel Carson was always curious about the world around her. As a girl, she loved being outside, exploring and learning more about the universe. As an adult, Rachel wrote books, including Silent Spring, considered to be the start of today's environmental movement.
An epilogue highlights on Rachel Carson's work and life.


Rachel Carson was always curious about the world around her. As a girl, she loved being outside, exploring and learning more about the universe. As an adult, Rachel wrote books, including Silent Spring, considered to be the start of today's environmental movement.
An epilogue highlights on Rachel Carson's work and life.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Will inspire future environmentalists."--Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Ehrlich's (Leo, Zack, and Emmie) anecdotal biography of nature writer and environmentalist Carson focuses on incidents that influenced Carson's thinking and career aspirations. As a child, she finds a fossil of a sea creature which, given her Pennsylvania home's inland location, was an exciting discovery that left "her thoughts turning like waves." In other episodes, the "solitary and odd and bright" girl has an article accepted by a magazine that publishes stories by children; and, as an aspiring writer in college, she changes her major to biology after seeing "the complexity of the universe" in a one-celled organism she views under a microscope. Supporting her parents and siblings with an editing job, Carson tries her hand at nature writing, hoping it will "add space and distance to her own cramped life." Ehrlich effectively evokes Carson's passion for and curiosity about nature, which she studied and documented during summers on the Maine coast, and explains the events leading up to Carson's seminal, controversial book Silent Spring, a fervent indictment of the use of pesticides. Organized into stand-alone episodes, the narrative does not always flow easily from one chapter to the next. Yet Minor's (A Lucky Thing) impressively realistic watercolor and gouache paintings lend a pleasing cohesiveness to the volume. His sun- and moonlit scenarios, particularly two wordless spreads, fittingly display the striking beauty of the landscapes and seascapes that so inspired this courageous crusader. Ages 5-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
As a young child walking outdoors with her mother, Rachel learned the names of insects, birds and plants and developed a profound love for nature. Rachel's love for nature and writing offered her the better of two worlds and as she furthered her education, she was able to write about what she learned. She was the author of many books, all dealing with the mysteries of nature, and later used the power of print to enlighten people of the need for wilderness sanctuaries. Her determination to make a difference certainly came true, as her book Silent Spring is credited with beginning today's environmental movement. The illustrations that accompany this biography are absolutely beautiful and add much richness for the reader. Written with each page as a separate event and part of a timeline, this is a very easy read for children, and it is an interesting way to cover many facts of a person's life in just 28 pages, with over half of them being illustrations. Readers will look at Rachel's story and refer to it many times, and will keep it in a prominent place in their personal library. Teachers will put this at the top of their list for introducing biographies. 2003, Harcourt Inc, Josephs
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-She loved the woods, built a summer cottage in Maine, wrote about the ocean, and finally published her landmark book about the poisonous pesticides killing wildlife. Ehrlich skims a few highlights of Carson's life and work, sometimes poetically. "A transparent, elongated paramecium drifted slowly across the microscope's field.-In that simple one-celled organism she saw the complexity of the universe." The author focuses on Carson's love of nature and writing, but her life seems uneventful. The dozen dated and sketchy episodes begin with a childhood scene in 1912, then touch on teenage and college years, and skip from a 1929 bit of research at Woods Hole to 1945 when Carson edited documents for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. Though the biologist doesn't come to life in the text, Minor's fine watercolor-and-gouache paintings provide splendid full- and double-page views of various settings and credible portraits. While the spare narrative may be somewhat nebulous for primary-grade readers, it might serve as an evocative introduction for slightly older children. The epilogue, dating Carson's death and crediting her with starting the environmental movement, mentions Maine's Rachel Carson Wildlife Preserve.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ehrlich's biography of the noted environmentalist covers much ground, from her early years in Pennsylvania, to research at Woods Hole Marine Laboratory, to Maine and her environmental writings. Carson's first teacher and greatest friend was her mother, who took walks, studied nature, and read with her. At the Pennsylvania College for Women, Carson found a love of biology to match her passion for writing, and it became her excellent writing that brought the natural world to readers. In The Sea Around Us (1951), readers roamed the beautiful and mysterious ocean worlds. Silent Spring (1962) opened eyes to the poisoning of the planet and launched the modern environmental movement. It's a lot to cover in a small volume, and young readers may find the text sketchy and disjointed. In several spots, personal feelings or thoughts are attributed to Carson but are undocumented: "her thoughts turning like waves"; "she felt helpless, as lost as the firefly"; "Rachel, who loved the world so much, was frightened and angry." Such problems mar this lovely tribute to an important writer unknown to the intended young audience. Minor's watercolor and gouache paintings, with their phosphorescent colors, outshine the text in portraying the beauties of the world-woods, mountains, and coastlines from Cape Cod to Maine. Young readers will love the illustrations and enjoy the true story of a woman of passion and courage. Maybe Carson's sense of wonder will inspire future environmentalists. (bibliography, epilogue) (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.15(d)
930L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

AMY EHRLICH has written and edited many books for children, including Joyride, an ALA Best Book of the Decade. She lives in Vermont. 

Wendell Minor is the celebrated illustrator of more than forty picture books for children. His work reflects his deep interest in American history and American landscape and his desire to bring the natural world to children. He currently lives in rural Connecticut with his wife, author Florence Friedmann Minor. Visit him at www.minorart.com.

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