Rachel Carson and Ecology for Kids: Her Life and Ideas, with 21 Activities and Experiments

Chicago Review. Feb. 2020. 144p. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9780897339339.
Gr 4-7–This timely and well-researched biography and activity book about legendary ecologist Rachel Carson falls somewhat short. The text focuses on Carson’s career and home life. The prose is accessible and doesn’t oversimplify complex topics. The thoughtful writing and ecological activities could provide depth to classroom units on the environment. Unfortunately, although attractive and full of graphic touches and photographs, the book’s design gets in its own way; the biographical text is frequently broken up, often in the middle of a sentence, by an activity. Callout boxes about historic events and people distract the reader, as does the occasional highlighted vocabulary word (though a glossary in the back clarifies the definitions). Ultimately, the dual purpose of the book hinders its utility and may make it difficult to use for casual browsers, report writers, and teachers. The supporting documentation for the biography is excellent and includes a bibliography with locations, quote citations, a time line, a glossary, and a robust index.
VERDICT Purchase for collections that regularly serve homeschooled populations or teachers.

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