Friday, August 19, 2022

Dive Deep to Explore the Ocean

Diving Deep: Using Machines to Explore the Ocean
by Michelle Cusolito; illus. by Nicole Wong 
32 pages; ages 5-8
Charlesbridge, 2022    

theme: nature, ocean, exploratioon

Far away from shore, past beaches and coral reefs, the ocean’s surface conceals earth’s last unexplored wilderness.

But humans are curious. We want to know what’s in the ocean, so we dive in. We want to know what’s deeper in the water, so we create a way to carry air with us. We want to dive deeper … to know what’s at the very bottom of the ocean floor, so we build machines to help us to explore. 

What I like about this book: I like how the book takes readers on field trips to different depths. First we go snorkeling, swimming with fins and breathing through a tube that reaches above the water’s surface. This is where we can see corals and fish and maybe, if we’re lucky, a ray. Each spread takes us deeper into the ocean and introduces the technology used by explorers: atmospheric diving suits, submersibles, and really deep-sea submersibles.

I like that Michelle focuses on the diving that scientists do for research, and that she focuses on how the technology aids in unlocking the secrets of the deep. And I love that there is a vertical spread (turn the book so it is taller than wide) that illustrates the different kinds of diving technology used from sub-surface to miles below. Of course there is back matter!

I caught up with Michelle a couple weeks ago to ask her One Question:

me: Have you done any diving? And what cool things did you see?

Michelle: Yes. When I went snorkeling in the Caribbean in 2016, I was amazed by how loud it was on the coral reef. That experience worked its way into the book where you see two snorkelers glimpsing angelfish amongst sea fans and eavesdropping “on parrotfish crunching on corals.”  

 I also learned to scuba dive while researching for Diving Deep. The deepest I went was 12 meters (about 40 feet). During my certification dive, my instructor brought me to see an octopus in its den. I was so excited, I squealed through my regulator. That octopus sighting went directly into the book: “We fly among fishes and spy an octopus in its den.”

I would be thrilled if I ever got an opportunity to go down in a deep-sea submersible. I most want to see bioluminescence in the deep-sea.

me: I love how your experiences add so much to your book. Now you've inspired me to try snorkeling next time I get to a body of water larger than the bathtub.
Beyond the Books:

Build an underwater viewing scope so you can see what lives in the water near you. Maybe there’s a pond, or a stream, or (if you are lucky) an ocean. You can use a tall yogurt container or a plastic milk jug or a 2-liter soda bottle to make your viewing scope. Plus you need some plastic wrap and rubber bands and a pair of scissors. Here’s how to make one.

Go snorkeling even if you are nowhere near the ocean. This video lets you see what snorkelers see in the Caribbean. 

Michelle also wrote Flying Deep ~ you can read about that book and my interview with her here.

Michelle is a member of #STEAMTeam2022. You can find out more about her at her website,

We’ll join Perfect Picture Book Friday once they resume. It’s a wonderful gathering where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. I love this book and own it. Love the story about squealing through her regulator, adding her own noise to the underwater cacaphony, LOL.

  2. Hm, my first comment didn't seem to stick. Was just saying that I love this book and the story about squealing into her regulator, adding her own noise to the underwater cacophony. Cheers!

  3. Another exciting book for children. I am not brave enough to snorkel or scuba dive, but I envy people who do. What a fascinating and beautiful way to observe marine life first hand. So much to discover. Enjoyed the short interview.

  4. I love Michelle's book! I am glad that you reviewed it. Thanks for the great snorkling video.