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Gr 2-4-As she did with Helen Keller: Rebellious Spirit (Holiday House, 2001), Lawlor has presented a concise and lively picture of her subject. Using language heavy with imagery ("Her camera captured four eggs, mottle white and brown, precious as shining fruit"), she discusses Carson's early years, including her innate love of nature and her early desire to become a writer. She describes Carson's struggles to support her frequently impoverished family as well as her fight to carve a place for herself at a time when women scientists were scoffed at. The controversy and impact of the publication of Silent Spring are not dealt with extensively in the main text as it ends with Carson's premature death at age 56, but a detailed epilogue supplies the needed information. Source notes reveal Lawlor's extensive research and the respect she has for her subject. Beingessner's tempera and ink illustrations do a fine job of capturing the natural world that Carson loved so much. For a slightly younger audience than Joseph Bruchac's Rachel Carson: Preserving a Sense of Wonder (Fulcrum, 2004), this book is a worthy introduction to a woman whose work still influences environmental decisions today.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
This book's bold title is hard to dispute: Carson's Silent Spring (1962) did, in fact, change the world, awakening people globally to the environmental threats posed by industrial chemicals. Lawlor attributes Carson's interest in nature to a childhood spent largely alone, during which her mother introduced her to the haunting melody of a wood thrush. A rare chance at college followed, where Carson made up with academic curiosity what she lacked in social popularity. After WWII, her writing broke through, and much of Silent Spring was written while she battled breast cancer. Lawlor's prose is nonrhyming but possessed with a noble rhythm ( she lost her heart to a world of restless water and sky ). Beingessner's soft tempera paintings are pleasingly two-dimensional and alternate pastels and earth tones to bring home the highs and lows of Carson's too-short life. Though Carson never got to see the changes brought on by her work, readers can use this fine book, as well as the informative back matter, to learn all that happened next.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Lawlor explores Rachel Carson's development as a scientist and writer, beginning with a childhood spent reading and exploring nature. Carson (1907-1964) attended college, obtaining her master's degree in biology (a formidable accomplishment for a woman at the time). But despite her determination to become a scientist, she was responsible for supporting her family following the death of her father. Slowly, Carson's writing gained attention, and her dedication to protecting the environment from pollutants led to her magnum opus, Silent Spring. Beingessner's light-filled paint and ink illustrations have an understated, 1950s-era grace, which is complemented by Lawlor's quietly contemplative prose. Carson emerges as a proud, conscientious woman who never allowed the constraints of her era to interfere with her convictions. An epilogue elaborates on the significance of Silent Spring. Ages 6-10. Agent: Stephen Fraser, Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.