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  • Ocean Speaks: How Marie Tharp Revealed the Ocean's Biggest Secret by Jess Keating
  • Elizabeth Bush

Keating, Jess Ocean Speaks: How Marie Tharp Revealed the Ocean's Biggest Secret; illus. by Katie Hickey. Tundra, 2020 [40p] Trade ed. ISBN 9780735265080 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 9780735265097 $10.99 Reviewed from galleys R 6-9 yrs

In this picture book biography, "Marie wanted to study the earth like her Papa," but "when Marie was growing up, girls were not supposed to dream of becoming scientists or explorers." World War II, though, created new needs and new openings, and Marie Tharp got her chance at math and science study and landed a position plotting sonar transmission data onto a map of the ocean floor. When her map indicated a submarine mountain range and rift valley, which seemed to support the discredited theory of plate tectonics, she was ordered to redo it, but with a second study confirming the first, the scientific community had to face the fact that the sea bed did not conform to their tightly held worldview. Tharp's interesting story is effectively simplified for a young audience, with closing notes answering some probable listener questions about the relevant research and science. Hickey's digitally assembled mixed-media artwork, particularly a stunning foldout of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge superimposed on a grid with altitude indicators, allows viewers to integrate the technological elements of Tharp's work with the wondrous reimagining of the ocean floor it engendered. Viewers will appreciate the introduction, and those ready to step up to a more detailed picture-book presentation of the Tharp story can look to Burleigh's Solving the Puzzle under the Sea (BCCB 2/16).



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