- Age Range: 4 - 8 years
- Grade Level: Preschool - 3
- Lexile Measure: 0750 (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 40 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (January 5, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1481416006
- ISBN-13: 978-1481416009
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.3 x 11.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor Hardcover – January 5, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—In this excellent biography of scientist Marie Tharp, Burleigh, writing in the first person, allows this adept geologist and oceanographic cartographer to tell her own story. Map lover Tharp became one of the 20th century's most important scientists, despite working in a field that greatly favored men. With fellow geologist Bruce Heezen, she mapped the world's oceans. Colón's signature softly hued, textured watercolors greatly enhance the text. One image depicts a research ship in the water upon which scientists took measurements called soundings to chart the ocean's depth. The writing is accessible and immediate, and though Burleigh acknowledges that Tharp was a woman working in a man's field, he casts her story in a happy light. A biographical page is appended, as well as thorough back matter. VERDICT A finely told, beautifully illustrated biography that saves a world class scientist from obscurity.—Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI
Working in a time when womenwere still unwelcome in her field, Marie Tharp maps the ocean floor andprovides convincing evidence for the previously rejected hypothesis ofcontinental drift. Burleigh's choice to write in Tharp's voice makes thedetermined geologist's story feel immediate, focusing tightly on her map thatrevealed the spreading Atlantic sea floor. He notes obstacles she overcame: aperipatetic childhood; gender discrimination; the superstition, still prevalentin 1948, that women were unlucky on ships; and disagreements about the drifttheory even with her friend and colleague Bruce Heezen. There's a shortdescription of Tharp's mapmaking process and a triumphant conclusion when thefinal, color version is published. But it's Colón's watercolor-and-pencilillustrations that bring her story alive. Readers see the map-loving child,ships taking the soundings that provided her data, the cartographer with pencilin hand, both graphing and drawing, and, in a wordless double-page spread, theexciting revelation of the rift in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Thedistinctive combed swirls of Colón's art masterfully suggest light on aseascape, and people are realistically depicted. Backmatter includes more ofTharp's story, useful vocabulary, bibliography and Internet links, and even"things to wonder about and do." An ideal introduction to a lesser-knownscientist and an important understanding about how the Earth works.(Informational picture book. 5-9) (Kirkus Reviews *STARRED* October 1, 2015)
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. Colón’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)
Gr 2-4–In this excellent biography of scientist MarieTharp, Burleigh, writing in the first person, allows this adept geologist andoceanographic cartographer to tell her own story. Map lover Tharp became one ofthe 20th-century’s most important scientists, despite working in a field thatgreatly favored men. With fellow geologist Bruce Heezen, she mapped the world’soceans. Colón’s signature softly hued, textured watercolors greatly enhance thetext. One image depicts a research ship in the water upon which scientists tookmeasurements called soundings to chart the ocean’s depth. The writing isaccessible and immediate, and though Burleigh acknowledges that Tharp was awoman working in a man’s field, he casts her story in a happy, upbeat light. Abiographical page is appended, as well as thorough back matter. VERDICTA finely told, beautifully illustrated biography that saves a world classscientist from obscurity. (School Library Journal *STARRED REVIEW* December 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. Colón’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)
Burleighand Colón follow 2013’s Look Up! with the story of another female scientist,Marie Tharp. Raised by a mapmaker, Tharp developed an early interest inexploring uncharted land; her passion eventually led her to the oceans.Burleigh gives readers an up-close view of Tharp’s experiences and hunchesthrough a first-person perspective: “Could the seafloor really be mapped? Ithought so—and I wanted to give it a try!” Despite discrimination she faced asa woman, Tharp became an accomplished scientist, mapping the Atlantic usingsoundings and helping advance the theory of plate tectonics. Colón’s warmwatercolor-and-pencil art brings warmth and energy to the pages through histhatched and wavelike textures, while an afterword provides further detailabout Tharp’s undertaking. Ages 4–8. (Publishers Weekly December 14, 2015)
Top customer reviews
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It tells the story of one of the twentieth century's great scientists, Marie Tharp. More particularly, it gives us a glimpse of her most significant scientific contribution, the mapping of the world's oceans.
One might think that I'm obviously not going to give the book a bad review because Marie Tharp shares my surname, but (1) Marie Tharp didn't actually write the book, and (2) I'd be more likely to thrash a mediocre book involving my surname than play nice.
The content was fascinating, especially because I'd never heard of Marie Tharp until now. Burleigh does a good job of laying out the story, providing some history of Tharp's childhood and then a chronology of her education and research, culminating in her discovery of a way to map the ocean floors. I especially like the way that Burleigh opened the story writing as Tharp in present tense and then continued in her voice to tell the story in past tense for the remainder. Raúl Colón's illustrations have a mid-twentieth-century feel to them that enhances the story and pulls readers in.
Now for the not so great. I found the writing a bit troubling at times. The word choices and syntax seem appropriate for the stated age range (4–8), but some style choices made the prose stilted and unnecessarily wordy, as well as conveying secondary meanings that may not have been intended. It's in such places that Burleigh's decision to write the story from Tharp's point of view starts to unravel and risk contradicting one of the story's main themes.
For instance, in one scene Tharp seems offended that a potential employer believes she is applying for a file clerk job and only capable of performing such a job. But is that the message—that being a file clerk is a crappy job? Or should it be (in the spirit of nonbinary multioccupationalism) that she was denied equal opportunity for the job she really wanted because of sexist attitudes? I'm not suggesting how it would be rewritten, but I believe the way it was done is sloppy.
Early on, Tharp graduates from college and tells us that she is now a young scientist. Then later, after she begins to make her great discovery, she notes, "I am scientist at last." No, you already were based on the earlier statement. Unless you've decided that the "bigness" of a discovery determines the "scientific-ness" of it (it doesn't—statistical validity after rigorous attempts to prove one's own hypotheses wrong determine scientific worth—a lost opportunity to share something about scientific validity with readers).
And I'm not sure that calling her colleague her friend, which in some ways minimizes the importance of her position, is a great approach unless countered by a notation that white men often were credited with achievements made by women and people of color during this time in our nation's history. Her "colleague" could just as easily have been her beard (in a nonsexual way, of course—I know the analogy is reversed and out of context, but it seemed fitting). There's nothing wrong with any of this from a purely technical standpoint, but when reading the book I occasionally had "hmmm . . ." moments that set off my continuity radar.
The extra biographical information, glossary, and activities at the end of the book were especially strong points. A child could spend hours researching and learning more about Marie Tharp, oceans, cartography, and science generally. And although I generally believe that writers don't need to go out of their way to create female characters for female readers (considering that most authors are females and most readers are females, that sort of happens naturally, whereas boys are the ones who never become readers at all), this is a case where it's absolutely welcome—in science.
All in all, a strong if somewhat spotty book with excellent rereadability. Burleigh is at his best when speaking directly to the reader about interesting facts and activities—not so much when it comes to some of the subtleties of secondary and tertiary layering.
Most recent customer reviews
I'd never heard of Marie Tharp before I found out about this book.Read more