Reviews for Manfish : A Story of Jacques Cousteau


Booklist Reviews 2008 June #1
*Starred Review* Writing in simple poetic language, both lyrical and concise ("Bubbles rising through the silence of the sea, silvery beads of breath . . . a manfish swimming, diving into the unknown."), Berne offers a luminous picture-book biography about Jacques Cousteau. In just a few lines per page, she follows Cousteau through his life as he develops his twin passions for filmmaking and oceanic exploration, and she shows how a life's path can begin with deep, childhood curiosity: "Little Jacques loved water--the way it felt on his hands, his face, his body. And water made him wonder. He wondered why ships floated. Why he floated." Puybaret's smooth-looking acrylic paintings extend the words' elegant simplicity and beautifully convey the sense of infinite, underwater space; and an inventive format further reinforces the text: a bisected scene shows a diver's waterline view above and below the surface; a series of panels depicts Cousteau and his friends learning to dive progressively deeper; and a gatefold dramatically suggests deep-sea depth. A closing scene, coated in sooty grays, describes how human activity has damaged sea life; and in a final, inspiring message, Berne calls for young people to become caring stewards of the earth. Only one disappointment: where are the source notes? Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
Cousteau's aqualung invention and camera skills allowed him to share "the inside of the sea" with the rest of the world. This biography of the French oceanographer/filmmaker/environmentalist focuses on his lifelong passion for the ocean. The fluid, lyrical text is enhanced by dreamy, mesmerizing illustrations in teal-blue and mustard-yellow tones. An author's note provides more information (although no dates are included). Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 May #2
This moving tribute to the great nautical observer and filmmaker is shot through with an authentically childlike sense of adventure and the thrill of discovery. Curious about the world, and especially the oceans, from his earliest years, Cousteau experimented with cameras, dreamed of flying and grew up to combine these interests--inventing the aqualung along the way so that he and his friends could see and record more of the deep's treasures. Puybaret ventures into Mary GrandPr territory with his shimmering, stylized seascapes, depicting long-bodied divers slipping sinuously through schools of brightly patterned fish and other sea life. Climaxing with a spectacular double foldout and closing with both an environmental warning and a wish that "someday it would be you, exploring worlds never seen, never imagined," this poetic profile of a doer and a dreamer is certain to inspire fresh interest in discovering, and in caring for, our world's wonders. (author's note) (Picture book/biography. 7-11) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2008 November/December
Children today may have never heard the name Jacques Cousteau, or know of the Cousteau Society and the work it has done with marine wildlife. Author Jennifer Berne explains Cousteau?s place in marine biology and environmental concerns. Berne takes readers from Cousteau?s childhood, as he plays on the shore of a stream flowing to Marseilles, France, where his interest in science began, to somewhat dangerous juvenile explorations and experiments with swimming under water, to purchasing the ?Calypso,? which he outfitted to carry out scientific explorations. The book discusses the innovations Cousteau made in deep sea diving and marine biology while leaving out the family problems and personal tragedy that Cousteau endured. Illustrator Éric Puybaret has chosen sea colors, with aquamarine blue becoming murkier when the text talks about the pollution that Cousteau found in later diving expeditions. Although there is a wealth of information about Cousteau on the Internet, this is a worthy consideration, especially in these days when the environment and our ?carbon footprint? and impact on the planet are so much in the news. Recommended. Leslie Greaves Radloff, Teacher/ Librarian, St. Anthony Park Elementary School, St. Paul, Minnesota ¬ 2008 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 November

Gr 2-5--A new generation of children is introduced to the pioneering oceanographer and filmmaker. Beginning with Cousteau's childhood in France where he marveled at the sea and dreamed of breathing underwater, Berne reveals the unique mix of curiosity, ingenuity, and passion that drove Cousteau to make underwater exploration possible. She describes his early experiments and forays into amateur filmmaking, helping readers understand the man he became. Most interesting is the simple explanation of how Cousteau and his friends developed the first fins, wetsuits, and scuba gear. Children will be surprised to know that before this man, the sport of scuba diving was nonexistent. Berne gently leads readers to Cousteau's passion for saving the underwater environment and then follows up with suggestions for further inquiry in her author's note. Almost poetic in its rich descriptions, the text is superimposed on ethereal acrylic paintings, submerging readers in the marine world. Shades of blue and green represent swaying, wraithlike strands of seaweed that both readers and oceanographers dart through while exploring the briny depths.--Nicki Clausen-Grace, Carillon Elementary School, Oviedo, FL

[Page 105]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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