All over the world, millions of people visit lakes and oceans to don their scuba gear and explore the amazing underwater world. We take the ability to do this for granted today, but not all of us know about the man whose experiments made this possible, Jacques Cousteau.
Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau, by Jennifer Berne, tells about Cousteau’s childhood in France, where he loved everything about the water. He longed to be able to stay underwater for long periods of time and even did his own experiments as a child to see if this was possible. The young Cousteau was interested in creating all kinds of things, from machinery to movies, and he traveled the world learning all he could.
When he was a young man, a friend gave Jacques some goggles and for the first time, he was able to see underwater clearly. He was so enthralled with what he saw that he began working on a way to stay underwater longer and to go deeper, too. He eventually came up with the aqualung, a way to breathe underwater. From then on he was exploring the oceans and all of the amazing creatures in them. He used his knowledge of film to share what he learned with the world.
While Berne’s words create a lovely story, Eric Puybaret’s pictures truly steal this book. The soft, cool colors carry you deep under the water’s surface to see what Coustaeu saw. Puybaret’s paintings were done on linen and it gives the pictures an old-fashioned feel, which complements the time period well. The pictures are simple and simply beautiful!
Manfish would be a terrific book to go with an ocean study or to learn about a fascinating man who did so much to help us discover the world under the surface of the seas.