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Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau Hardcover – April 23, 2008


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (April 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811860639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811860635
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*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? Grades K-3. --Gillian Engberg

More About the Author

To read about me and my books, I invite you to my website www.jenniferberne.com

I hope you all enjoy reading Manfish, Calvin, On a Beam of Light, and Nighty-Night, Sleep Tight. And I thank you for your wonderful letters and emails.

I have new books in the works. Stay tuned!

--Jennifer

Customer Reviews

My boys really enjoyed reading this book.
RNOS
The story of Jacque Cousteau's developing fascination with the sea and it's inhabitants is beautifully told and illustrated in this volume for children. .
Elaine Smith
Beautiful graphics to interest children and short enough to keep their interest.
Deborah

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By B. Kirk on May 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A beautifully written and illustrated book about a boy who grew up to be one of the world's most ardent conservationists. Both children and adults will appreciate and hopefully heed the important message woven into this charming story. The unusual perspective of the illustrations and the surprise foldout plunge you even deeper into a watery world. This is a book to give to anyone who loves the ocean and the earth.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Abigail D. Malik on May 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Jennifer Berne's tale of Jacques Cousteau's journey from child to young man to manfish is breathtaking and inspiring. This children's book is a lovely look at a world that's often forgotten in our busy lives - the sea and its inhabitants and the effect we have on each other.

Berne's chronicles of Cousteau's journeys, his ambition and his deep passion for life are inspirational to young and older readers alike. The sea is bigger than life, and so is this book's message: dream big and follow those dreams. Cousteau gives us all a little hope that perhaps changing the world isn't really all that hard.

I recommend getting this book for anyone in your life who loves and respects the sea and its life - or anyone who appreciate life at all. The illustrations and the poetic tale are unforgettable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Elaine Smith on May 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The story of Jacque Cousteau's developing fascination with the sea and it's inhabitants is beautifully told and illustrated in this volume for children. . The ocean's wonder is brought vividly to life, as is Cousteau's message that we need to take responsibility to sustain the life that dwells within it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By LP Salas on March 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
What a gorgeous book! This biography of Jacques Cousteau is a dreamy, wonderful adventure. It shares marine inventor and explorer and conservationist Jacques' life and accomplishments, but more importantly, it shares the quality that helped him do it: a sense of wonder. Jacques wondered about lots of things, from how cranes worked, to how movies were made, to how a person might be able to breathe underwater. Although his love of the ocean eventually led to his life's work, you get the sense while reading this book that Jacques could have been absolutely anything, and that he would have made a difference in whatever field he chose--all because he wondered. He was curious and industrious and determined. What a great model for kids, no matter where their interests lie.

The writing is terrific. The facts are clear, the anecdotes are kid-friendly, and there are plenty of wonderful word choices. Here are just a couple of my favorite bits:

"At that moment Jacques knew his life was changed forever. His eyes had been opened to the wonders of the sea."

"Jacques, Philippe, and Did gathered a crew, their aqualungs, their hopes, and their dreams, and set off to explore the inside of the sea..."

"...with eyes on long stalks, buried so deep in the sand they looked like a garden of eyes."

And the terrific ending, speaking directly to kids: "Jacques dreamed that someday it would be you, exploring worlds never seen....Worlds that are now yours. To discover. To care for. And to love."

The art by Eric Puybaret is fabulous, too.

My only nitpick is that I would have liked a bit more backmatter. But a stellar book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By hcdphd on July 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This hardcover book is a nice story but it is a little confused if it wants to be a small child's book or an older child's book. It appears to be a nice picture book and starts off at one level but then gets technical. I liked it because it is a true story and I like Jacques Cousteau.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Williams on September 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I know about Mr. Cousteau, but I admit that I know a very small amount of details (I blush to admit this). So, it was very enlightening for me to read "Manfish" which tells of Cousteau's childhood and young adult life, and how his various interests worked together to help him become one of the people to first document never-before-seen underwater life.

I really enjoyed this story. I thought the narrative did a good job of keeping the flow of the story, even though it skips several years in Cousteau's life to go from main point to main point.

I thought it was nice to include information about Cousteau's inventions (I hadn't realized he'd invented the Auqalung!?) as well as his friends and diving partners.

I thought the feel of the illustrations fit the text really well. Sometimes the images felt a tad off, like they belonged with the next page or something, but this is very picky and didn't really distract from the story.

I can only imagine what it must have been like to be one of the first (or the first) person to lay eyes on the world deep under the waves. To be the first to see so many incredible creatures, and to make all those discoveries. How exciting it must have been!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dani B. on April 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful story of the man. The illustrations are beautiful and the story keeps my students interest the whole way through.
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Format: Hardcover
Jacques was a boy who always was fascinated by the wonders of water. Once he read about a man who survived underwater by breathing through a tube, but when he tried it, the experiment was a flop. He was always experimenting with one thing or another and his curiosity was insatiable. Another thing that held great fascination for him was movies and how they were made. He saved up his money and bought a camera.

When he grew up he joined the French Navy and began to see some of the oceanic wonders of the world. This was a world that he would one day capture on film and make him famous, but first he had to figure out how to be able to go beneath the surface of the water for extended periods of time. It was then he invented the aqualung. Later he acquired the Calypso, an old warship and outfitted it for his purpose. Underneath the seas he began to see how people were destroying their environment. What do you suppose he did with that camera and the Calypso? Perhaps you already know the end of this story!

Each page in this book is fully encompassed in the atmosphere of the sea with full color illustrations and a complimentary, enthusiastic story. One pull out page almost makes the reader feel as if he is going into the depths of the ocean along with Cousteau and crew. Manfish brings the world of oceanography and environmental concerns, his passions, into the light once again.
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