Kirkus Reviews QR Code
RACHEL by Amy Ehrlich

RACHEL

The Story of Rachel Carson

By Amy Ehrlich (Author) , Wendell Minor (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-15-216227-5
Publisher: Silver Whistle/Harcourt

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)