The Deep-Sea Floor book cover image

The Deep-Sea Floor

  • 795

By: Sneed B. Collard III / Illustrated by: Gregory Wenzel

Explore the ocean floor

Incredibly rich and realistic illustrations take readers up close to the curious creatures and plants that thrive in the vast severe habitat of the ocean's floor.

Marine biologist and renowned children's book writer Sneed B. Collard III introduces children to many fascinating sea creatures–from bioluminescent fish to giant tube worms–that survive without sunlight. A history of deep-sea exploration from sonar to submersibles shows how far scientists have come in their ability to investigate these great depths.

Inspire young readers to explore the possibilities of marine science.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Sneed B. Collard III, author

Sneed B. Collard III has been a biologist, computer scientist, and author. He began writing after graduating with honors in marine biology from the University of California, Berkeley. After earning his master’s in scientific instrumentation at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he continued to hone his craft while serving as a computer consultant for biologists.

Read more about Sneed.

Gregory Wenzel, illustrator

Gregory is an illustrator specializing in natural science subjects. His first illustrated science book, a book about dinosaurs for G.P. Putnam Sons, was done in 1982. Since then Gregory has worked on many projects for clients ranging from book and magazine publishers to natural history museums to television.

Read more about Gregory.

Awards & Honors:

  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Science Books & Films Best Junior High and Young Adult Books
  • Parent's Guide to Children's Media Award

Editorial Reviews:

Publishers Weekly

For budding oceanographers, The Deep-Sea Floor by Sneed B. Collard III, illus. by Gregory Wenzel, sheds light on the denizens of the deep and presents the history of ocean exploration, from hundreds of years ago, when many thought the ocean was bottomless, to the present, where scientists routinely utilize "deep-sea submersibles" (or vehicles) to troll the depths.

Kirkus Reviews

A captivating look at the strange creatures found at the bottom of the sea. Collard (Beaks, 2002, etc.) begins with a brief history of underwater exploration and an explanation of how the movement of huge crustal plates results in deep trenches and vast ridges or even mountain ranges below the surface of the sea. Then he takes the reader to the bottom of a trench and describes how animals find food in total darkness, survive under enormous pressure, in chilling cold as well as scalding-hot conditions. He introduces concepts such as "marine snow," and bacteria that manufactures their own food in a process called chemosynthesis. Finally, he describes the many submersibles scientists are using to explore underwater life. Handsome illustrations capture the eerie blue-black environment, where many inhabitants are white or eyeless, and some are bioluminescent and carry their own light sources. The few species illustrated provide a fascinating glimpse of the strange world near the deep-sea bottom. Spots of 18 odd creatures grace the end papers. Collard's well-chosen words coupled with the eye-catching art make this an interesting browser as well as a fine addition to the science collection


One of the great frontiers of scientific discovery in recent years has been the deep-sea floor. In a brief, lucid account illustrated with many watercolor paintings, Collard explains the basics of oceanic geology, including crustal plates, abyssal plains, and trenches; the sonar technology and deep-sea submersibles that have made exploration possible; and the sometimes exotic-looking varieties of wildlife that have been observed. The short section on deep-sea vents and cold seeps offers a simple explanation of chemosynthesis and points out that not all life on Earth relies on photosynthesis. This section is a good example of highlighting a change in scientific knowledge that contradicts statements made in many older books that are still in classrooms and libraries. Wenzel's watercolors are equally effective in picturing the strange, deep-sea environment and in illustrating the specifics of geology, biology, and technology referred to in Collard's informative text. A list of recommended books and Web sites will lead children to more about this alien, undersea world. A glossary is appended.

School Library Journal

Collard takes readers a mile below the sea's surface to look at the geography and animal life of the ocean floor and gives a brief history of its formation and exploration. Large, color illustrations show creatures usually found only in total darkness. Especially useful are the diagrams of the Earth's crust and how oceanic ridges are created from hot magma rising out of the earth. Brief mention is made of deep-sea submersibles but there is enough to encourage readers to look for further information on this subject. A pronunciation guide to unfamiliar scientific words and names is another worthwhile addition to this fine, informative introduction.


ISBN: 978-1-57091-403-4

ISBN: 978-1-60734-217-5 PDF
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Ages: 6-9
Page count: 32
8 1/2 x 11

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