Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The record-setting dive of the Bathysphere

Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The record-setting dive of the Bathysphere
Written by Barb Rosenstock, Illustrated by Katherine Roy

Publisher’s Summary:
A biographical account of engineer Otis Barton and naturalist Will Beebe’s record-setting descent into the deep ocean in their Bathysphere craft, making the men the first humans to witness deep sea creatures in their natural habitat.

Primary Source Pairing:
This true story of explorers, a scientist and an engineer, going 800 feet deep into the ocean, a depth no one yet had explored, will spark the interest and curiosity of readers of all ages. The text and intricate illustrations make readers feel like they are in the bathysphere with Will and Otis. Highlight the back matter with students and spend a few minutes reading the Illustrator’s Note to remind students as much research goes into illustrating as book as does writing it.

For this primary source pairing, invite students to study an ocean floor map hand painted by map maker Heinrich C. Berann which shows the depth and the landforms under the water. As the learning environment allows, print this map on tabloid paper (11×17) to give students a chance to look closely at the intricate paintings of the landforms. If students are on devices, share the link of the map from the Library of Congress website and model using the zoom in and zoom out tools. The tools let viewers zoom in very close to the map. The details are incredible. 

Students may be interested in looking for the Mariana Trench as mentioned in the Author’s Note. Learn more about the Mariana Trench in a Scientific American article titled “The Mariana Trench Is 7 Miles Deep: What’s Down There?” available here.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see?
  • What do you notice first?
  • What size and shape is the map?
  • What graphical elements do you see?
  • What on the map looks strange or unfamiliar?
  • What questions do you have about this map?
  • Make a connection to the book Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The record-setting dive of the Bathysphere.

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Manuscript painting of Heezen-Tharp “World ocean floor” map by Berann: Library of Congress. The map is available here in JPG format.

The Mariana Trench Is 7 Miles Deep: What’s Down There?, written by Sabrina Stierwalt in Scientific American, May 29, 2020, https://www.scientificamerican.com.

Related Primary Source Pairings:
Glow: Animals With Their Own Night-Lights, Written by W.H. Beck