Into the Deep: The Life of Naturalist and Explorer William Beebe

Overview

"To be a naturalist is better than to be a king."
--William Beebe's journal, December 31, 1893

William Beebe was a pioneer in the field of ecology, the father of deep-sea exploration, and an avid conservationist. This picture-book biography charts the life of this famous naturalist from his childhood studying animals in New Jersey through his later years studying birds at the research station he started in Trinidad.

Back matter includes quotes from Beebe, a glossary of terms, ...

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Overview

"To be a naturalist is better than to be a king."
--William Beebe's journal, December 31, 1893

William Beebe was a pioneer in the field of ecology, the father of deep-sea exploration, and an avid conservationist. This picture-book biography charts the life of this famous naturalist from his childhood studying animals in New Jersey through his later years studying birds at the research station he started in Trinidad.

Back matter includes quotes from Beebe, a glossary of terms, and an illustrated cross section of the Bathysphere, which Beebe helped design.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
In this lengthy picture-book biography, his parents from his childhood encourage the naturalist William Beebe's love of nature. He tracks animals and migrating birds and collects specimens. By age 18 he is already a published author. After he is hired by the New York Zoological Society, he travels to unexplored areas all over the world. Rather than collecting specimens, he decides to study creatures in their natural habitats. He explores, writes books, and dives with a helmet. To examine ocean creatures living below the depth he can dive, he designs and builds, with the help of engineer Otis Barton, the Bathysphere. In this they dive deeper than ever before possible. Beebe ended his life fighting for conservation and the protection of endangered species. Sheldon uses opaque acrylic and gouache paints and India ink to create dramatic double-page scenes from jungles and a flock of flamingos, through the deck of his ship with containers of sea life, to the melodramatic view of the dark deep through the Bathysphere's porthole. The naturalistic illustrations enhance the significance of Beebe's many investigations. The jacket/cover image of the giant squid and the brilliant jungle scene on the end pages offer an appropriate introduction. Additional notes, a glossary, and bibliography are included. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—Considered the father of ecology and a member of the first crew to travel deep into the sea in a Bathysphere, Beebe was, at the time of his live radio broadcast from beneath the sea in 1932, a household name. Focusing on his childhood activities, his success as a very young man, and his best-known achievements, Sheldon keeps the book brief and fast moving. India ink gives a period feel to the large, bright illustrations. Smiling at an opossum in a nearby branch or watching with trepidation as a giant, unknown sea creature passes by the window of his Bathysphere, Beebe is always shown in the thick of exploration of the natural world. Helpful end matter includes an author's note with a cutaway view of the Bathysphere and a page of intriguing quotes from Beebe. A fine book for any aspiring scientist, this is a natural selection for those who have enjoyed Kathryn Lasky's One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin (Candlewick, 2009), Rosalyn Schanzer's What Darwin Saw: The Journey That Changed the World (National Geographic, 2008), and Alice B. McGinty's Darwin (Houghton, 2009).—Ellen Heath, Easton Area Public Library, Easton, PA
Kirkus Reviews
Lifelong naturalist William Beebe is most famous for his record-breaking deep-sea dive. In 1934, he and partner Otis Barton descended 3,028 feet into the unexplored depths of the ocean in a bathysphere, invented for the purpose. This colorful introduction to Beebe's life for younger readers opens with his parents' encouragement of his interests in the natural world and his early work as a curator and collector of birds before he developed the idea of observing animals in their native habitat and began to focus on undersea life. Sheldon's lush double-page paintings, in acrylic, gouache and India ink, show young Will surrounded by animals, alive and stuffed, and the older man at work in a variety of settings. They offer some gentle humor-as when explorer Beebe's hat blows off, revealing his balding head-and show Beebe aging gracefully. Although the dive is the focal point of his story, the author tracks this early ecologist's entire career. Backmatter includes further information, quotations from Beebe's writings, a glossary and bibliography. A fine offering for would-be explorers. (Informational picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580893428
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 592,529
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD940L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

David Sheldon is the author/illustrator of BARNUM BROWN: DINOSAUR HUNTER (Walker). He has also illustrated several children's books including BUGS! (Zonderkidz). David lives near Asheville, North Carolina.
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