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First published more than three decades ago, this reissue of Rachel Carson's award-winning classic brings her unique vision to a new generation of readers. Stunning new photographs by Nick Kelsh beautifully complement Carson's intimate account of adventures with her young nephew, Roger, as they enjoy walks along the rocky coast of Maine and through dense forests and open fields, observing wildlife, strange plants, moonlight and storm clouds, and listening to the "living music" of insects in the underbrush.
"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder." Writes Carson, "he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in." The Sense of Wonder is a refreshing antidote to indifference and a guide to capturing the simple power of discovery that Carson views as essential to life.
In her insightful new introduction, Linda Lear remembers Rachel Carson's groundbreaking achievements in the context of the legendary environmentalist's personal commitment to introducing young and old to the miracles of nature.
Kelsh's lush photographs inspire sensual, tactile reactions: masses of leaves floating in a puddle are just waiting to be scooped up and examined more closely. An image of a narrow path through the trees evokes the earthy scent of the woods after a summer rain. Close-ups of mosses and miniature lichen fantasy-lands will spark innocent'as well as more jaded'imaginations. Like a curious child studying things underfoot and within reach, Kelsh's camera is drawn to patterns in nature that too often elude hurried adults'a stand of beech trees in the springtime, patches of melting snow and the ripples from a pebble tossed into a slow-moving stream.
The Sense of Wonder is a timeless volume that will be passed on from children to grandchildren, as treasured as the memory of an early-morning walk when the song of a whippoorwill was heard as if for the first time.
About the Author
RACHEL CARSON (1907-1964) was known as “the patron saint of the environmental movement.” She was the author of Silent Spring, which exposed the dangers of pesticides and fertilizers. She passed away as she was finishing The Sense of Wonder.
NICK KELSH is a photographer who is the author of How to Photograph Your Life. A native of Fargo, North Dakota, he lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Anne.
Read an Excerpt
One stormy autumn night when my nephew Roger was about twenty months old I wrapped him in a blanket and carried him down to the beach in the rainy darkness. Out there, just at the edge of where-we-couldn't-see, big waves were thundering in, dimly seen white shapes that boomed and shouted and threw great handfuls of froth at us. Together we laughed for pure joy-he a baby meeting for the first time the wild tumult of Oceanus, I with the salt of half a lifetime of sea love in me. But I think we felt the same spine-tingling response to the vast, roaring ocean and the wild night around us.
A night or two later the storm had blown itself out and I took Roger again to the beach, this time to carry him along the water's edge, piercing the darkness with the yellow cone of our flashlight. Although there was no rain the night was again noisy with breaking waves and the insistent wind. It was clearly a time and place where great and elemental things prevailed.
Our adventure on this particular night had to do with life, for we were searching for ghost crabs, those sand-colored, fleet-legged beings which Roger had sometimes glimpsed briefly on the beaches in daytime. But the crabs are chiefly nocturnal, and when not roaming the night beaches they dig little pits near the surf line where they hide, seemingly watching and waiting for what the sea may bring them. For me the sight of these small living creatures, solitary and fragile against the brute force of the sea, had moving philosophicovertones, and I do not pretend that Roger and I reacted with similar emotions. But it was good to see his infant acceptance of a world of elemental things, fearing neither the song of the wind nor thedarkness nor the roaring surf, entering with baby excitement into the search for a "ghos."
It was hardly a conventional way to entertain one so young, I suppose, but now, with Roger a little past his fourth birthday, we are continuing that sharing of adventures in the world of nature that we began in his babyhood, and I think the results are good. The sharing includes nature in storm as well as calm, by night as well as day, and is based on having fun together rather than on teaching.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book reminds me of the importance of bonding with children and that it is easier in nature. This book makes a great gift to anyone who appreciates nature too.