Otis and Will Discover the Deep by Barb Rosenstock | SLJ Review

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.

redstarROSENSTOCK, Barb. Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere. illus. by Katherine Roy. 48p. bibliog. photos. Little, Brown. Jun. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316393829.

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

This review was published in the School Library Journal April 2018 issue.

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