“It was dawn when the chorus began.”
As a child, Rachel Carson awoke to a symphony of birds, and she listened, watched, and wrote as other animals joined in. Innovative, appealing illustrations show Rachel in comic-book panels, vignettes, and full- and double-page spreads as she explores, observes, and deeply appreciates nature. A profusion of dialogue balloons reproduces the vocalizations of the animals around her. As a student, Rachel intends to write but instead focuses on the microscopic world in a drop of water, which in turn leads to underwater scientific study and, later, well-received books about the sea. However, it’s when she realizes that the symphony she loves has grown quiet—effectively represented by both the absence of sound bubbles and negative-space outlines of creatures now disappeared—that she makes her greatest contribution by revealing the destruction caused by pesticides in her book Silent Spring, which contributed to the formation of the EPA and the environmental movement. Resilience and dedication are strong underlying themes here; relevant details, such as her mother’s background in music, are seamlessly incorporated; and while the focus understandably stays on her work—her overwhelming success as an activist and scientist in a field dominated by men goes unmentioned—there is certainly room for outside discussion. Carson and her family are white; people of color appear in scenes depicting her impact.
The perfect choice to inspire young readers and listeners, with just the right amount of detail to inspire, entrance, and encourage further investigation. (notes, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)