Rachel Carson found many adventurous ways to study nature and engaged
in many dangerous investigations but her riskiest of her endeavors was
to write and publish Silent Spring, a book pointing out the dangerous
effects of chemicals on our living world.
The fiftieth anniversary of Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring, is feted with Lawlor's biography of the pioneering environmentalist. She hoped to wake people up to the harmful impact we humans were having on our planet. In her book she said, "Once you are aware of the wonder and beauty of earth, you will want to learn about it."
"...Rachel Carson's story cannot be folded easily into 32 pages. ... Her Silent Spring, which carefully documented the effects of insecticides such as DDT on bird and animal life and ultimately on people, launched a huge governmental effort to eliminate that threat. The story ends with her death, at age 56 in 1964."
~ Kirkus Reviews
"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." ~ Publishers' Weekly
"[Lawlor] 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. ... this book is a worthy introduction to a woman whose work still influences environmental decisions today." ~ School Library Journal
"Lawlor interweaves the most salient facts of the naturalist's life (1907-1964) with such illuminating details as needy extended family members camping outside the Carsons' overflowing house; or the chief of the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, where she finally got a job ("one of only two professional women"), turning down a piece Carson had written for radio but suggesting she send it to The Atlantic - a move that set off her literary career.... this accessible account folds a commendable amount of significant information into picture book format." ~ Horn Book
The revolution Rachel Carson initiated is detailed in the epilogue. Reviewers cite the illustrations by Laura Beingessner as being attractive and well constructed. It seems that Beingessner took a great deal of effort (and research) to picture Rachel in clothing that reflects each time period, as well as to accurately depict the fields, forest, waters, and oceans that Carson loved and studied.