Reviewed by Christine Royce
Assistant Professor of Education
David Sheldon brings the excitement of being a naturalist and explorer to life for readers as he portrays the highlights from the life and times of explorer William Beebe. This large and beautifully illustrated NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2010 is ideal for sharing aloud or for a center in which students can explore further.
This story details the life of this explorer and naturalist—from his childhood years when he observed animals in New Jersey and became interested in birds, to his young adult years when he served as the assistant curator of birds at the New York Zoological Park, to his years of global travel when he continued to observe and learn about animals. The later half of the story delves into Beebe’s fascination with the underwater animals of the oceans and seas. His interest in this area allowed him to team up with Otis Barton, who designed the bathysphere, which was tested by the pair over several attempts. Eventually Beebe and Barton, inside of the bathysphere, went deeper than anyone had been before (–3,208 feet, where they encountered deep-ocean creatures for the first time ever in their natural setting).
Among other notable features of this book are the illustrations that bring the text to life. Colorful, double-page drawings will help readers feel like they are part of the experiences in which Beebe was engaged. Also included are endnotes on the bathysphere, quotes Beebe made during his explorations, a glossary, and a list of additional resources. This book provides a realistic look into the explorations made by a single man and will help students see Science in the Human Perspective, as suggested in the National Science Education Standards.
Review posted on 8/11/2009