This luminous picture book by an award-winning author and acclaimed illustrator is the perfect tool to discuss the importance of the natural world with young children, as well as introduce them to environmental activist Rachel Carson.
"I'm not afraid!" shouts Roger when he hears thunder outside...but he is afraid. When the storm quiets, his aunt Rachel decides to take him on a walk to see the beauty of the natural world at night. Over his Godzilla pj's goes his rain slicker; onto his feet go his monster boots, and together he and Rachel head down the rocky path to the sea. On the way they discover many marvels--a screech owl calling to its mate, ghost crabs tunneling in the sand, and most incredibly, the luminous life that lights up the water. When they find a tiny firefly who has lost its way, they bring it home and release it back into the woods. At last, Rachel tucks Roger into bed, telling him he is "nature's brave protector." An afterword introducing young readers to Rachel Carson, and explaining bioluminiscence, adds to the appeal of the book.
Loosely based on two anecdotes from the ecologist and writer Rachel Carson's life (1907 1964), Wiles's fictional tale focuses on the emotional world of Roger, a small child who pivots from fear in a power outage to stomping waves to delicately rescuing a waterlogged firefly "as carefully as the most gentle monster" in the company of his caregiver, Carson. Descriptions of nature are especially poignant: "they released the firefly... watched it flit and circle and wink away." Miyares's dreamlike illustrations complement the lengthy poetic text, using light and dark to evoke Roger's sense of confidence, comfort, fear, and wonder while conjuring the magic of a flashlight-lit walk to a bioluminescent ocean on a thundery night. Some readers may find the title misleading, however, as historical information about Carson's significant life and legacy appear only as back matter. Ages 4 8.