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Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea


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About the Author

Robert Burleigh is the award-winning author of many books for children, including The Adventures of Mark Twain by Huckleberry Finn, illustrated by Barry Blitt; Night Flight, illustrated by Wendell Minor; Black Whiteness, illustrated by Walter Lyon Krudop; and Sylvia's Bookshop, illustrated by Katy Wu. His many other books include Hoops; Stealing Home; and Clang! Clang! Beep! Beep! He lives in Michigan. Ra l Col n has illustrated several highly acclaimed picture books, including Draw!; the New York Times bestselling Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt; Susanna Reich's Jos ! Born to Dance; and Jill Biden's Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops. Mr. Col n lived in Puerto Rico as a young boy and now resides in New City, New York, with his family.


Though her discoveries were pivotal to the theory of plate tectonics, geologist and cartographer Marie Tharp is still relatively unknown. In this picture-book biography, Burleigh presents Tharp's story in her own enthusiastic, imagined voice. "Maps. I love them!" she exclaims before describing her life and accomplishments. In a conversational tone, she discusses her curiosity, her struggles to be accepted in the boys'-club atmosphere of 1950s research labs, her dogged determination to work in science, her belief in her sea-floor-mapping project, and her satisfaction at seeing her beautiful map gracing the walls of schools and museums. Along the way, she explains depth soundings, cartographic concepts, and plate tectonics. Col n's soft colored-pencil illustrations are a wonderful match for ocean scenes and frequent maps, and a few helpful diagrams further illustrate concepts... very worthwhile. Further reading and some provocative critical-thinking questions close out the volume.

-- Sarah Hunter--Booklist "December 1, 2015 "

The duo behind Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer

spotlights another groundbreaking woman scientist: Marie Tharp, the oceanographic

cartographer whose mapping of the Atlantic seafloor yielded key evidence

confirming the theory of continental drift. Tharp holds the narrative reins here,

and her voice, as imagined by Burleigh, generally rings true. As an adolescent, she

describes her passion for maps and imagines one speaking to her: "Have an adventure.

Explore. Discover something new"--a bold challenge for a young woman

in the 1930s. Burleigh also touches on the discrimination Tharp faced. Applying

for a position as a scientist, she is informed: "We don't need any more file clerks."

A sexist boss won't let her join ocean expeditions: "Having a woman on a ship is

bad luck." (No sources are provided for these quotes.) Burleigh's writing is clear,

conversational, and lyrical on occasion. He handles the science content well; it's

never too dry or overly technical. He also portrays scientists realistically, actively

engaged in and arguing about their work. Col n's illustrations, a textured wash

of sea- and earth tones, are thoughtful and attractive and accurately reflect the

time period. A final, memorable spread shows a contemporary girl looking over

her shoulder at Tharp; it's a subtle nod to Tharp's importance as a role model, as

well as to the importance of other women scientists, past, present, and future.

Back matter includes further biographical details, a glossary of science vocabulary,

a bibliography, websites (one with a slight error), and related activities.--The Horn Book Magazine "January/February 2016 "

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