Title: Into The Deep: The Life of Naturalist and Explorer William Beebe
Author and Illustrator: David Sheldon
Year: 2009 (paperback edition)
Concepts: natural resources, human resources, invention, innovation
Review: William Beebe, a popular naturalist and author, loved all types of wildlife from an early age and trained himself in animal observation, taxidermy, insect mounting, and cataloging. Before he graduated from college he had already published articles in professional outlets and had gotten hired as the assistant curator of ornithology at the New York Zoological Park. Over the years, his unconventional approach to observing animals in their natural habitat and his courageous efforts to discover new species in remote regions generated a growing audience for his publications and public talks.
In the late 1920s, Beebe partnered with an engineering student named Otis Brown to invent the Bathysphere, a spherical diving vessel made of thick steel that enabled deep-sea exploration at depths hitherto unimagined. Their observations of magnificent sea creatures provided fodder for entertaining radio broadcasts and motivated people to start caring more about the environment.
This biography gets high marks for its informative and crisp writing style. Children will be especially intrigued by the Bathysphere, a somewhat daunting and mysterious-looking contraption that involved quite a bit of danger as well. The text seamlessly weaves some key concepts in economics, including innovation and human resources, into the account of Beebe's scientific contributions. The colorful and detailed illustrations work well to engage young learners.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children