Rosenstock (Dorothea’s Eyes) provides a vivid account of a history-making dive of the submersible Bathysphere. In 1930, eminent scientist William Beebe and Bathysphere designer Otis Barton descend more than 800 feet in a herky-jerky plunge that Roy (How to Be an Elephant) depicts with stylized, action-packed watercolors. Text placed vertically alongside pictures of the swinging sphere (the repeated phrase “down, down into the deep” steps down the page) pulls the reader further into inky blue-black darkness: “400 feet. Stop. Colder. Breathe in. 500 feet. Stop. Darker. Breathe out.” Spreads alternate between scenes of the two explorers working inside the cramped Bathysphere and exterior views of the descent. The tale of this perilous expedition climaxes in a spectacular gatefold showing the small searchlight-lit vehicle hanging amid myriad whitish-gray sea creatures, in an expanse of dark water. Archival photographs, a source list, and lengthy author and illustrator notes conclude this tribute to the power of curiosity, imagination, and ambition. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. Illustrator’s agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (June)
*"Rosenstock's masterful pacing as the tank is submerged leaves us nearly breathless.... Roy's fluid watercolors and dramatic perspectives capture the heart-pounding emotion of the scientists' dangerous journey."
Horn Book, starred review
* "[A] tribute to the power of curiosity, imagination, and ambition."Publishers Weekly, starred review
*"This is a true science adventure story...an outstanding work of nonfiction."
School Library Journal, starred review
*"This is a true adventure tale par excellence, tautly plotted, nail-bitingly told, and splendidly illuminated in the illustrations by Roy, from the detailed tinkering on deck, to the claustrophobic innards of the Bathysphere, to the exotic never-before-seen life forms that crossed the searchlight."BCCB, starred review
*"The text brings in all the excitement and fear of the preparations and the dive itself. The illustrations, done in pencil, watercolor, gouache, and ink, go perfectly with the text in conveying the anticipation of the dive, the darkness as they go deeper, and the fear as some unexpected things happen. An extensive Author's Note and Illustrator's Note give more detail on Otis and Will and the challenges of illustrating their dive. This would be an excellent book for read aloud."School Library Connection, starred review
"With risks of leaks, explosions, and suffocation, the dive was dramatic on its own, but Rosenstock and Roy imbue the scenes with even more suspense. A repeated refrain of 'down, down, down' and ever-darkening backgrounds punctuated by moments of gasp-inducing mishaps ratchet up the tension, but when they finally make it to 800 feet below the ocean surface, it's all worth it for the view of glowing, alien creatures, which Roy powerfully depicts in a swirling, dusky double-gatefold spread."
"Rosenstock and Roy's collaboration celebrates scientific teamwork and an exciting first in deep-sea exploration."
"A little-known true story...[with] engaging watercolor illustrations."The Washington Post
"Meticulous research underpins everything with fascinating detail and sometimes terrifying drama, inextricably intertwined in this tribute to STEM, teamwork, and the 'last frontier on earth.'"
The San Francisco Chronicle
K-Gr 3—This is a true science adventure story of two men, Otis Barton and Will Beebe, who explored the depths of the ocean down to 800 feet in a self-designed round metal diving tank, "a hollow metal ball" called the bathysphere. Their goal was to answer the question: "What did the deep ocean look like?" Rosenstock's beautifully crafted prose captures the tension and the awe of the experience. ("Shadowy shapes swam past the window. Mysterious lights twinkled in the distance.") The text is expertly complemented by illustrations that detail what is happening, and capture the emotion and fascination of the men. As the bathysphere descends, readers see what is happening both inside and outside the craft. Inside, the two men do various tasks, while outside the vessel descends farther and farther into the darkening waters. A magnificent four-page foldout first shows Beebe and Barton peering out at a depth of 800 feet. When the fold is opened, readers witness the answer to their pressing question. Finally, the intriguing back matter includes an author's note, an illustrator's note, and a note from a former assistant of Will Beebe, as well as a number of interesting photographs. VERDICT An outstanding work of nonfiction for school and public libraries.—Myra Zarnowski, City University of New York
Otis Barton and Will Beebe, unified in their scientific curiosity about the deep sea, team up to innovate the 5,000-pound bathysphere, making history in 1930 with their initial 800-foot dive.The younger of the two, Barton sought out the famous explorer Beebe, correcting his prototypical calculations and sharing his own design. Rosenstock provides physical and logistical details, including how the two tall men fit themselves into a bolted-shut globe "the size of a tiny closet." The narrative focuses on the drama, delivering bursts of information throughout the descent, as the crew above periodically halts progress to check the bathysphere's cables. "300 feet. Stop. / ‘We're leaking!' Otis cried. A trickle seeped through the hatch door….Would a tiny leak stop?" At 800 feet, a double gatefold opens to the bathysphere, dwarfed by the expanse of ink-blue sea, its searchlight illuminating thick schools of fish, squid, and jellies. (The choice of a horizontal instead of vertical gatefold composition sidesteps an opportunity to visually dramatize the dangerous descent.) Roy's multimedia paintings deliver plenty of contrasts, from boyhood scenes to events aboard the ship and undersea; endpapers depict creatures that dwell at several different ocean depths. Barton and Beebe are white; Roy depicts several male brown-skinned crew members and one white female research assistant.Rosenstock and Roy's collaboration celebrates scientific teamwork and an exciting first in deep-sea exploration. (author's note, illustrator's note, historical note, sources) (Informational picture book. 5-8)