Sunday, March 21, 2010


By David Sheldon
Publisher: Charlesbridge
ISBN: 978-1-58089-341-1

FROM THE FLAP: “To be a naturalist is better than to be a king.”
—William Beebe’s journal, December 31, 1893

Pioneer in the field of ecology, father of deep sea exploration, and avid conservationist, William Beebe was a modern-day celebrity during the Great Depression—a time when Americans needed a ray of hope. His childhood love of nature spurred him to explore jungles and to brave ocean depths. Wanting to venture deeper into the ocean, Beebe and his business partner, Otis Barton, invented the Bathysphere. Through it all Beebe urged scientists and explorers to discover the world around them.

David Sheldon uses his artistic magic to transport readers to the lush jungles of South America, the volcanic highlands of Colima, Mexico, and the mysterious depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Exotic birds fly off the page and bioluminescent creatures swim into focus, much as they did when Beebe first discovered them.

KATE’S TAKE: It’s spring! Get out there and explore like naturalist, William Beebe!

CONSERVATION CLASS (Verbal/Linguistic and Interpersonal)

As a class, research three different conservation organizations. Then, come up with interview questions for a representative of each organization. E-mail the questions to the organization. After the class receives and studies the answers, vote on which organization to support and make a donation.

DEEP SEASCAPES (Visual/Spatial)

Will and Otis Barton used the Bathysphere to explore the deep sea. On black paper, have students use glow in the dark paint to create a deep sea scene. If you don’t have access to glow in the dark paint, add white to your paints. The contrast of the lighter colors gives them a glowing appearance on black paper.

GUESS WHO? (Verbal/Linguistic, Visual/Spatial, and Interpersonal)

Beebe explored various habitats. Have each student choose an animal from one of the habitats in the book. Then, ask them to write a riddle about the animal using this format:

I live in the ____________. (habitat)
I am __________. (color adjective)
I am __________. (size adjective)
I am a __________. (mammal, insect, or reptile0
Who am I?

Beneath the riddle, have them draw a picture of their animal. Then, tape a flap on top of the picture. Have each child present his or her riddle and ask the other students to guess what it is.

ROPE CLIMB (Kinesthetic)

William Beebe used rope to scale trees in the jungle. In the gymnasium, have students try to scale the climbing rope.

YOUNG EXPLORERS (Verbal/Linguistic and Visual/Spatial)

If you could explore anywhere in the world, where would you go and how would you get there? Write a story about where you would go and explain your choice. Design a vehicle on paper, like Beebe and Otis did, to take you there.


-A Picture Book of Amelia Earhart by David A. Adler
-Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest by Steve Jenkins
-Mary Anning and the Sea Dragon by Jeannine Atkins
-Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca
-The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jackie Davies

No comments:

Post a Comment