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By Robert D. Ballard, illustrated by James Dietz, 1992. Turner Publishing, Inc., Los Angeles, CA; 20 pp. - $19.95.

Robert Ballard, director of WHOI's Deep Submergence Laboratory and leader of cruises in 1985 and 1986 that led to the discovery and exploration of the sunken oceanliner Titanic, is a legendary figure to thousands of young children across the country.

Many children who know of his work wish they could accompany him on his exploits, to go where he has gone, to see what he has seen. His new pop-up book provides ample fuel for some armchair fantasizing. Each spread in the book describes a different underwater mission in which he has been involved. The pop-up format is highly interactive. On the spread about the discovery of the Titanic, for example, there are no fewer than four separate activities, including one that explains the movements of ROV Jason, Jr. (the mini-telerobotic vehicle that travelled all over the doomed luxury liner, videotaping the condition of its ruined majesty). A flap that can be lifted shows both what Titanic looked like before it sank, and a map of where it met its end. A three-dimensional pop-up illustration shows the hull of the ship, with tiny DSV Alvin traveling beside it. And a movable depth chart shows how far down Alvin had to travel to reach Titanic. Altogether, there are sixteen different "interactive illustrations." Topics covered include Project FAMOUS, explorations of hydrothermal vents and the Cayman Trough, a mission on NR-1 (the world's smallest nuclear-powered submarine, operated by the US Navy), and the JASON Project, in which Ballard and others have offered live satellite transmissions of deep-sea explorations to groups of children across the US.

Usually pop-up books appeal to younger children, from the ages of four to six. I would recommend this for somewhat older children, such as Alex (age seven) who found it fascinating. Indeed, I'd recommend it for anyone who would enjoy a crab's eye view of deep-sea exploration.

Deborah Kovacs

Author, childrens' literature and Editor, Ocean Explorer, the newsletter for Young Associates of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
COPYRIGHT 1992 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Kovacs, Deborah
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Dec 22, 1992
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