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Listening To Crickets: A Story About Rachel Carson by Candice F. Ransom, a Review

Updated on May 8, 2015
LillyGrillzit profile image

Libraries saved her. As a child she sought the protection of words and pages. Superhero librarians fed her brain and imagination.

American White Pelican - 1000's were wiped out in the 1960s from DDT

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans | Source

Listening to Crickets

The other evening, I was helping out in Juvenile books, when I spied "Listening To Crickets: A Story About Rachel Carson". There are a few reasons this book and title jumped out to me;

  • Recent rants against Rachel Carson (1907-1964) for causing DDT to be banned
  • Recent blame against Rachel Carson for the deaths of millions of Africans because they are no longer allowed to use DDT
  • A kindred spirit with Ms. Carson as she was a woman of science
  • Ms. Carson was an early environmentalist who saw first hand the effects of pesticides on entire bird, fish and beneficial insect populations

It was a pleasant surprise to see this childrens book by Candice F. Ransom on our library's shelf. It was written in 1993, and compared to when Ms.Carson was publishing this is new; published within the last two decades.

This is a thorough but simple biography of Ms. Rachel Carson's origin, family, education, and scientific work. "Listening To Crickets" explains in a simple manner, and in under 70 pages, the story of Rachel Carson's life, how she started writing in second grade, and ended up a well published scientist, writer and environmentalist working for the US Wildlife & Fisheries.

The illustrations for Rachel Carson: Listening To The Crickets are beautifully soothing, and were created by Shelly O. Haas.

The Crickets, birds and other creatures were what Rachel studied from a child to adulthood

American White Pelicans and a double-breasted black cormorant
American White Pelicans and a double-breasted black cormorant | Source

"Rachel Carson is responsible for the death of thousands of Africans..."

Recently, on Twitter and Facebook, I have been seeing these type of remarks. They have come about in regards to the recent death of 10,000 colonies of bees in the State of Oregon, North America. It was due to pesticide use. Many people are alarmed by this, and those who promote pesticides advised it is better to kill a few bees and get the mosquitoes. Using fear tactics saying that without the use of pesticides many of us will die like the Africans who have perished from malaria.

That statement is a falsehood. Millions of Africans could have been saved from the spread and outbreak of malaria by:

  1. Simple and inexpensive netting to cover the families
  2. Food, clean water and their green habitat of jungles
  3. The refusal of the world to stand by while genocide has been committed in Darfur and the Sudan.

It is the same old thing. Companies who make trillions from chemical creation, application and sales will do or say anything to have their product used by governments under the guise of goodwill and disease prevention. Mosquito netting is non intrusive, healthful, and inexpensive. Less than 5 decades ago, Africa was covered in green veldts and jungles. The loss of their habitat, means the loss of their natural food source, and the humans are targeted for genocide so energy, diamonds and whatever resource exists, can be harvested from that ground.

Rachel Carson passed away in 1964. It is a long reach to try to blame the human devastation in Darfur and the Sudan on this woman. It is a long time tradition for men of the ruling industrial class to use fear and propaganda to have their way, so they are free to plunder the Earth. (Trudell)

If you will read this simple children's book, you will see for yourself that Ms. Carson was born a scientist. A scientist is a person who forms theories, then investigates, performs tests and more investigations, tweaking their theories until they can find answers to puzzles around them.


A young girl, Rachel began her writing career by magazine submissions & her illustrations

As a young girl Rachel Carson was fascinated by the world around her. It was her habit to stand at the window, or out of doors each day, and listen for the sound of the crickets surrounding her family property. The life that was around her, impressed her so much that she created illustrations of her local birds and animals. .

Although Rachel was just 10 years old, she was a good listener. She paid rapt attention when her mother read letters from her brother who was a pilot in the Second World War. A fan of "St. Nicholas League", a magazine of that time who accepted submissions of stories and illustrations from children. She would submit several stories she wrote based on the accounts of her brother in action.

Each time the Carson family received their "St. Nicholas League Magazine" Rachel would pour through and go to the children's section hoping to find her own work. Finally at the age of 10, she became a published and paid author being featured in St. Nicholas League..

Rachel's attention span was drawn to what she felt was important. Although the Carson Family property was inland, Ms Carson longed to visit the Ocean one day. The world around her filled her with wonder, and a desire to know all she could about it. She set goals early on that she would visit the Ocean.

Ms. Rachel Carson - one of the first Women Scientists in the US - went to work at the US Fisheries & Wildlife Service

Rachel Carson taken by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (1940)
Rachel Carson taken by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (1940) | Source

Listening To Crickets shows how Rachel Carson was happy in her life

"Listening to Crickets" show the satisfaction Rachel Carson had in her life. Obstacles such as being a woman who wanted to be a scientist when women did not go into those fields, did not stop her. The urgency and desire never waned for her to go visit the sea, when she lived in-land. Rachel had many family obligations and responsibilities. She accomplished all of her goals while living during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the Great Depression. None of these historical events stopped her from doing what her mind and heart urged her to do.

Rachel Carson with fellow scientist Bob Hines taking samples for research

Rachel Carson with Bob Hines conducting Marine Biology Research 1952
Rachel Carson with Bob Hines conducting Marine Biology Research 1952 | Source

A serious woman - she did not waste her time

A serious young woman, Rachel Carson did not spend time with parties or dating. She was dedicated to her education, and finding out the mysteries of the land, sea and air. Ms. Carson paid attention to what went on around her. A young scientist; she asked questions and worked diligently gathering evidence to have her questions answered.

Silent Spring Podcast by Grace Kirk, Sammie Mallow & Bobi Jo Rockwell

Later in life, Scientist and writer, Rachel Carson fought rougher battles.

Later in life, after her scientific findings of DDT effects on birds and other beneficial insects which prompted the publication of "Silent Spring", she bucked up against the powerful chemical companies and was called to testify before Congress regarding the danger not only to birds, insects and animals, but also human beings. There were a lot of people angry with her...they still are.

In part due to her crusading for sanity in chemical use against mosquitoes, the Environmental Protection Agency was formed not long after she passed away from cancer.

Our Habitat Earth - Was Rachel wrong about DDT?

Is it okay to eradicate entire species of birds, bees and other pollinators to attempt to kill a pest like the mosquito?

See results

Listening to Crickets:A Story About Rachel Carson

¹©copyright all rights reserved by Candice F. Ransom, author, and Illustrations by Shelly O. Haas. A Carolrhoda Creative Minds Book, Carolrhoda Books, Inc./Minneapolis (1993). 64 pp

Much of what was put into this Hub was what I learned by reading "Listening To Crickets" If you are interested in the progression of environmental protection, women in science, and women who are successful writers, this is an insightful book. If you want your young people to care about the environment or be inspired to follow their goals and dreams, this is an excellent book. Hopefully it will prompt you to read the works written and published by Rachel Carson.

²©John Trudell - "DNA: Descendants Now Ancestors: They Are Mining Us" / Goodreads - "Lines from a Mined Mind: The Words of John Trudell© by John Trudell - Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, lists


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    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 4 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      File a Digital Millennium Copyright Act violation complaint, and AdSense and HubPages, I did complain on Whosis for you. This is so horrible. Good luck.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Just came back to say thanks so much for letting me know about the plagiarism on my car hub. Did you know that Wordpress is so darn hard to crack? I even signed up so I could complain, seems we can't! there is no contact bit, well, there is but you can't get to do it, long story. But I am will try again later, thanks.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi Lilly, I had never heard of her before but it's a fascinating story, I will look into it more now, and try to find the books about it, thanks, nell

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 4 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      They have all of the right ingredients. I am looking forward to it. :0)

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      sheilamyers 4 years ago

      Thanks Lilly. I hope you enjoy them.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 4 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Thank you Ms Sheila Myers. enthralled with her life and the impact she had on our world. PS I found your work on and after I read the 12 books I have lined up, I am going to start on the Jake series.

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      sheilamyers 4 years ago

      This is a lot of great information. I've read "Silent Spring", but I've never took the time to read anything about Rachel Carson. Thanks for sharing the short bio.