Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau

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9780811860635: Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau
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Before Jacques Cousteau became an internationally known oceanographer and champion of the seas, he was a curious little boy. In this lovely biography, poetic text and gorgeous paintings combine to create a portrait of Jacques Cousteau that is as magical as it is inspiring.

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About the Author:

About the Author

Jennifer Berne, a contributing, award-winning writer for Nick Jr. magazine, enjoys writing about our amazing universe. This is her first children's book. She lives in Columbia County, New York.

Review:

"Bubbles rising through the silence of the sea, silvery beads of breath . . . a manfish swimming, diving into the unknown." Atmospheric poetry begins this luminous picture-book biography about Jacques Cousteau. Berne's simple language is both lyrical and concise. 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. --Booklist, Starred Review

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 GrandPre 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. --Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

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