Filled with gorgeous illustrations by acclaimed artist Raúl Colón, this illustrated biography shares the story of female scientist, Marie Tharp, a pioneering woman scientist and the first person to ever successfully map the ocean floor.
Marie Tharp was always fascinated by the ocean. Taught to think big by her father who was a mapmaker, Marie wanted to do something no one had ever done before: map the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Was it even possible? Not sure if she would succeed, Marie decided to give it a try.
Throughout history, others had tried and failed to measure the depths of the oceans. Sailors lowered weighted ropes to take measurements. Even today, scientists are trying to measure the depth by using echo sounder machines to track how long it would take a sound wave sent from a ship to the sea floor to come back. But for Marie, it was like piecing together an immense jigsaw puzzle.
Despite past failures and challenges—sometimes Marie would be turned away from a ship because having a woman on board was “bad luck”—Marie was determined to succeed. And she did, becoming the first person to chart the ocean floor, helping us better understand the planet we call home.
This is definitely on the longer side, so is better suited to children with longer attention spans, but is a wonderful story of the contribution of Marie Tharp to our understanding of the world and particularly the ocean floor. A great read for burgeoning scientific minds encouraging us to keep asking questions and never give up!
Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea tells the story of oceanographic cartographer Marie Tharp and her quest to map the ocean floor. Tharp’s story is interesting and the book explains not only her experiences but also the techniques she used and concepts that impacted her field. It packs in a lot of information, and there are a lot of words on each page, so it probably won’t hold the attention of very young readers. It would, however, be a great biography for later elementary school children. The illustrations aren’t something to write home about, but they do have some really nice moments.
Raúl Colón 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 José! Born to Dance; and Jill Biden’s Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops. Mr. Colón lived in Puerto Rico as a young boy and now resides in New City, New York, with his family.