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Nonfiction STEM Picture Book Review – Deep, Deep Down


The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench

Written by Lydia Lukidis

Illustrated by Juan Calle

(Capstone; $18.99; Ages 7-11)


Deep, Deep Down cover art of Mariana Trench



From the Publisher:

“Deep, deep down, at the very bottom of the ocean, lies a secret world. Through lyrical narration, this spare-text STEM picture book takes readers on a journey to a place very few humans have ever been—the Mariana Trench. The imagined voyage debunks scary myths about this mysterious place with surprising and beautiful truths about life at Earth’s deepest point. Deep, Deep Down shows a vibrant world far below, and teaches readers how interconnected our lives are to every place on the planet.”

Deep Deep Down int1 submersible
Interior spread from Deep, Deep Down written by Lydia Lukidis and illustrated by Juan Calle, Capstone Publishing © 2023.



Lydia Lukidis and Juan Calle bring the underwater world of the Mariana Trench to life in Deep, Deep Down,  a narrative nonfiction title with art that hints at the color and form that may be hidden down below. (Since no one knows for sure what that world would be like to the human eye, I appreciate the disclaimer given on the copyright page, though would like it to be larger to grab readers’ attention.) And while I would not call this a “lyrical” title (it doesn’t have the consistent rhythm I would expect from a lyrical title—even the non-rhyming ones), the text reads smoothly and the author has done a good job of describing this world using vivid, child-friendly verbs and adjectives.


Deep Deep Down int2 Sea Cucumber
Interior spread from Deep, Deep Down written by Lydia Lukidis and illustrated by Juan Calle, Capstone Publishing © 2023.


I especially love the added sidebars and captions on each spread that indicate both where we are in the ocean and the creature highlighted in the illustration. These added bits of information (and the three pages of backmatter!) make this title perfect for all ages of fact-hounds; however, I’d like to point out that the suggested age for this picture book is seven to eleven years old. I can see this title being used in the classroom both as a science text and an excellent example of vivid language, and becoming a favorite of students who just want to sit and browse the beautiful illustrations.

*A Recommended Read

Click here for an Educators Guide.

  • Reviewed by Roxanne Troup



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Time For Kids: Big Book of Science Experiments, A Review & Giveaway

Time For Kids: Big Book of Science Experiments ($17.95, Time Home Entertainment, ages 8-12 ) by the editors of Time For Kids magazine is reviewed by Ronna Mandel. Click here to check out their wonderful website and read on to learn more about the giveaway!

This terrific hands-on book with more than 100 cool experiments for kids will occupy and educate your budding scientist or inventor while answering many questions you as parents may have pondered, too. Before you read any further, it’s important to know that all experiments and activities in this book require adult supervision so carve out some time for your child before you play Mad Scientist. Additionally, Good Reads With Ronna will be giving away one copy of this book in a random drawing.  Please see below for giveaway details and rules.

The contents page breaks down the experiments into four sections: Earth Science, Life Science, Physical Science, and Technology and Engineering. There’s also a very helpful section called Science Fair Success Secrets with tips on how to present your projects and improve your prospects with a Science Fair judge. And I’m the first person to say all’s fair in love and Science Fairs! As a parent, what I especially appreciated was the key indicating whether an experiment could be performed: in less than one hour (a green test tube); in a matter of hours (a yellow flask); or would take more than a day to complete (a red beaker).

In addition, another plus for this book is that before each experiment, there’s an explanation of the science behind it so a child can understand what he/she is doing and why. Convenient You Will Need boxes list items to have on hand before attempting any experiment and easy-to-understand, step-by-step instructions put success in reach of all who try. The 192 pages of  Time For Kids: Big Book of Science Experiments are packed with colorful artwork and photographs and contains a wide range of experiments that you can return to as your child gets older and more experienced. My 10-year-old son learned a lot from the Types of Bridges explanation in the Engineering section, but everyone will have their own favorite topic to tackle. Into understanding family resemblance, mass matters, turbine power, patterns, kitchen mold, magnet magic or best of all, explosions? It’s all there for you to explore and enjoy. Prepare to have a blast, or two!


TO ENTER – We are giving away one (1) copy of The Time For Kids: Big Book of Science Experiments book This giveaway ends at midnight on Monday, Feb. 27th, 2012 with one (1) winner selected on Tuesday, Feb. 28th. Winner will be notified by email so be sure to include your name, address, (no P.O. Boxes please) and phone number in an email to Please write Time For Kids Science Giveaway in the subject line. For a chance to be the winner of one copy of the book, please leave a comment on the blog and also LIKE Good Reads With Ronna on Facebook. If you don’t provide an email where you can be contacted your chance to win is forfeited.

This giveaway will run through midnight on Feb. 24,  2012 (PST). Winner will be chosen using from all valid entries and notified via email. Winner will have 48 hours to contact us at before another winner is chosen. Giveaway is open to U.S. (18+) residents only.

Good Reads With Ronna did not receive monetary compensation for these reviews.  One (1) giveaway item worth a total value of  $17.95 will be provided by Good Reads With Ronna. 
 The review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your opinions may differ.

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