Rachel Carson: Pioneer of Ecology Critical Context - Essay

Kathleen V. Kudlinski

Critical Context

Kudlinski is careful to supply a brief but accurate biography for the middle-grade reader. Her interpretation of Carson’s character agrees with that of biographers writing for an adult audience, but she presents her subject’s life in a more direct and uncomplicated manner. The author chose what to include, and what to omit, with great care. The result is a well-written biography, a work that does not require that the reader approach it with any antecedent knowledge of Carson or her work.

Rachel Carson is one book in a series published by Viking Kestrel entitled Women of Our Time, which also contains volumes on such figures as child actress and diplomat Shirley Temple Black, comedian Carol Burnett, anthropologist Margaret Mead, and children’s author Laura Ingalls Wilder. The series introduces middle-grade readers to famous women of the twentieth century. In books of fewer than sixty pages, young readers find the stories of women whose careers had a significant impact on other people’s lives. Kudlinski herself wrote another work for the Women of Our Time series, Juliette Gordon Low: America’s First Girl Scout (1988), which was intended for an even younger audience. Rachel Carson was well reviewed when it appeared in 1988, and it has since been included on many lists of suggested books for young readers.