Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau

It is steamy-on-the-streets August, and so by rights I should be snorkeling on some shiny reef or scubadiving in turquoisey waters. But alas… I am city-bound. Are you? Well then I recommend Jennifer Berne’s beautiful picture book on the life of Jaques Cousteau: Manfish. (See! I can read books that are not YA, and I can even write about them. Hah!)

My knowledge of M. Cousteau, prior to this book, was entirely based upon watching the occasional undersea adventure program in my childhood. Berne’s story introduces us to Jacques as a boy on the French seashore, and follows his dream to someday be able to breathe underwater and experience the sea from within. Readers learn that Cousteau was an inventor, a film-maker, an environmentalist, a sailor and a dreamer. I appreciated Berne’s direct, and quitely poetic style, matched in every way by French illustrator Eric Puybaret’s evocative illustrations. I propose that every pet fish henceforth given to a child be accompanied by Manfish

You’ll feel like you’ve been on a diving adventure – without the seaweed, or the seasickness.

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