Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Rachel: The Story of Rachel Carson

Rachel: The Story of Rachel Carson

Amy Ehrlich
Illustrator:   Wendell Minor 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Harcourt, 2003   ISBN: 0152063242

Rachel was different from her sister and brother. She was “solitary and odd and bright” and she loved nature. Rachel and her mother would explore the natural world together and when Rachel went to college she discovered that though she loved to write, she wanted to study biology more. And so Rachel changed her major and began to learn about the inner workings of the natural world around her.

Rachel went to the Woods Hole Biology Laboratory where she studied all kinds of things about the ocean and ocean life. Unfortunately she was not able to pursue her scientific interests much because she needed to make a living. Her entire family was depending on her. So Rachel worked as an editor for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries but whenever she got the chance she would go out into the field, watch the birds and the other animals, and she would then write down what she saw. She wanted very much to become a nature writer and hoped that she would do well enough doing this that she would be able to expand her horizons somewhat.

And so Rachel began writing books which took her readers on amazing journeys into the oceans of the world. She shared her love of the ocean with them and she was successful enough with her books to be able to devote her time to writing full-time.

When Rachel saw that the wild places and the creatures that she loved were being injured by man-made poisons she wrote a new book called “Silent Spring.” The pesticide and chemical companies attacked her work and her credibility but many other people listened to and took heed of her warnings. The public reaction to her book set a new initiative in motion, an initiative which would become the beginnings of the environmental movement.

This book will provide young readers with a very thought provoking and meaningful introduction to the life and work of Rachel Carson. Written in a lyrical style and complimented by Wendell Minor’s lovely art, this is a book which every young nature lover should read.