In an ascent and a descent Piccard opened up new worlds, as the author points out; in a similarly brief span, she recreates his pioneering ventures and projects their import: the younger child to whom the large print and open page are suited will find this both compact and compacted. And altogether readable, having elements of a thriller (the first stratospheric flight was dogged with difficulties, the danger of being stranded recurred during the first dive in the Trieste) and an affectionate memoir: Piccard was one of those totally absorbed, unworldly individuals about whom anecdotes accumulate from childhood. Mostly, however, this is the story of his construction of an airtight chamber for penetrating the stratosphere safely (the ancestor of modern airplane cabins) and--because the entire vessel was an innovation--his long struggle to perfect the free-moving, deep-penetrating bathyscaphe. The latter is compared to Beebe's earlier bathysphere, and placed in relation to prior oceanographic research generally; similarly, the history of ballooning precedes Piccard's contribution. The right photos appear at the right spots, with a glossary and a checklist of individuals at the close. Though there is no index, one is hardly needed--this is a book to latch onto rather than to look into.