Rachel: The Story of Rachel Carson
Rachel: The Story of Rachel Carson
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Annotation: Rachel Carson fought many obstacles to go to college in the 1920's and graduate.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #4836459
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Harcourt
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition Date: 2008
Illustrator: Minor, Wendell,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-15-206324-2
ISBN 13: 978-0-15-206324-5
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 00013115
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
In a series of at-times choppy two-paragraph chapters, Ehrlich relates highlights from the life of the remarkable woman who helped launch the environmental movement with the 1962 publication of Silent Spring. Ultimately, the marriage of hard facts and soft watercolor and gouache images of Carson at various stages of life doesn't prove harmonious. Bib.
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)
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.)

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.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 1,695
Reading Level: 5.6
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.6 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 67316 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.7 / points:2.0 / quiz:Q32802
Lexile: 1010L

Rachel Carson was always curious about the world around her. As a girl she loved being outside, always exploring and wanting to know more about the universe. As an adult Rachel wrote books about what she loved--including Silent Spring , a book that changed the world. Amy Ehrlich's lucid and loving prose, complemented by Wendell Minor's luminous paintings, tells a memorable story of the power of the word, the power of the individual, and--most of all--the importance of following your heart. An epilogue sheds light on Rachel Carson's work and life.

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