A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Lots of historical facts about the first dive of the Bathysphere, presented in a concise, kid-friendly, lively way. Many technical terms, including "winch," "cable," "hatch," "hull," and "watertight"; sophisticated vocabulary like "queasy" and "suffocate"; place names Bermuda and Galapagos Islands; names and illustrations of sea creatures, including eel larva, barbeled dragonfish, pteropods.
Follow your passion, follow your dreams. Don't give up when you encounter a setback. Working as a team can help get the job done. Scientific discoveries involve a lot of trial and error.
Positive Role Models
Otis Barton is a visionary who comes up with an innovative design for a diving tank and tries repeatedly to contact Will, a famous explorer, to show him the design. His persistence pays off. Will Beebe is curious and remains open-minded when contacted by Otis. Their dive has some scary, tense moments, but Will stays calm, even in the face of danger. The brave explorers descend to 803 feet below the surface of the ocean. No one before had gone lower than a few hundred feet.
Violence & Scariness
Two scary moments during Will and Otis' first dive: During their descent, when they hit 300 feet, Otis cries, "We're leaking!" It's a tiny trickle through the hatch door, and Will orders that they keep descending. At 600 feet: "Without warning, sparks showered down from the searchlight cord above Will's head. If they hit the oxygen tanks, the explorers would be cooked! Otis grabbed at the cord, wiggled the searchlight ... the sparking stopped."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere, by Barb Rosenstock, is a nonfiction picture book that tells the story of an engineer and an explorer who teamed up to build and man a hollow metal diving tank in 1930. They descended further than anyone had before, and saw for the first time the dark realms and creatures of the deep ocean. Illustrator Katherine Roy (How to Be an Elephant, Neighborhood Sharks) brings the action-packed text to life, showing how exciting -- and risky -- scientific discovery can be. A big four-page foldout spread shows the dark underwater landscape the explorers saw. An author's note tells more history and includes archival photos of the men and the Bathysphere.
Is It Any Good?
This exciting, suspenseful account of the Bathysphere's first deep-ocean dive vividly conveys the thrill of scientific discovery and celebrates the passion and drive of the diving tank's two creators. Barb Rosenstock's text is gripping and informative, and Katherine Roy's you-are-there watercolor illustrations plunge readers into the story, pulling them along through the briny deep, as fish, eels, squid, jellyfish, and then-unnamed species swim by. She uses warm earth tones on land and cool blues and greens under the sea, while endpapers highlight and label selected fish and creatures. An author's note includes archival photographs of the two men and the Bathysphere. And a fascinating illustrator's note recounts the lengths to which Roy went, imagining and simulating what it was like for Otis and Will, two 6-foot-tall men, to be cramped in their tiny 4.5-foot-wide sphere.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.