Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau

by Jennifer Berne

Other authorsEric Puybaret (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2008



Local notes

921 COU




Chronicle Books (2008), 40 pages


Before Jacques Cousteau became an internationally known oceanographer and champion of the seas, he was a curious little boy. In this biography, poetic text and paintings combine to create a portrait of Jacques Cousteau.


Utah Beehive Book Award (Nominee — Informational Books — 2010)
Great Lakes Great Books Award (Honor Book — 2010)
Chickadee Award (Nominee — 2010)
Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (Nominee — Picture Books — 2010)


Original language


Physical description

40 p.; 9.63 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member riofriotex
Manfish is subtitled "A Story of Jacques Cousteau." This picture book biography focuses on his younger years, especially his childhood, and less on the time after he became famous. The writing is poetic at times and the illustrations are gorgeous. ALL of the illustrations in this book are
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double-page spreads, some turned vertically to emphasize the depth of the ocean.
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LibraryThing member susanmartling
This book's endpapers give us clues to the two most important things about Jacques Cousteau, the life of the ocean and filming it. The first page of the story begins with words on the page that look as if they are being carried by the ocean's current--very creative. Also of interest is the vertical
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foldout format employed on one page. The details given of Jacques' life are interesting and thorough. I also found the Author's Note enriching in it's list of places where we can learn more--a great help for student researchers. What I would like to know more about is how the author came to know Jacques Cousteau and how she founs her information on him. This book is a great example of a biography for kids, it's very accessible and engaging. It would also be a good supplement for a research unit on oceans, scientists or conservation.
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LibraryThing member pholli
Very Good biography of Jacques Cousteau. Picture book format, excellent and interesting pictures. About 32 pages.
LibraryThing member saraluisa
Manfish combines the story of a boy who is intrigued with life underwater who becomes a man who is obsessed with life underwater with beautiful illustrations and a call for action. It would be a great introduction to oceanography and recycling/caring for our world.
Manfish lacks descriptions of any
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of Cousteau's personal conflicts or weaknesses. A man as obsessive as Cousteau I'm sure had some weaknesses; I'm left wondering why Berne chose to leave this out.
Still, the overwhelming amount of blue tones in the book brings the reader into the magic of water, and it is difficult to not enjoy the book.
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LibraryThing member danusia
Awesome informative book about scientist, inventor, explorer, Jacques Cousteau. Beautiful double page spread illustrations tell the story of Cousteau and his love of the ocean. Loved it!
LibraryThing member MrBean
Suggested age: Grade 2+. Genre: Biography.
This book presents the life of Jacques Cousteau, from a curious and clever boy, through an adventurous young adulthood, into an innovative, passionate lover of the sea and its inhabitants. His childhood passions are carried into his work as an adult. The
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back of the book includes other sources for people curious about Jacques Cousteau or his work. This book would be a good lead-in on a classroom service learning project, or for some other activism to help students change the world for the better. It would also fit nicely into a unit about marine life, or scientific discovery.
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LibraryThing member ShellyCBuchanan
This picture book biography of one of the 20th century's most successful explorers, poetically and artistically tells the story of of Cousteau's journey from inquisitive child to television star. Berne shows Cousteau's constant inquisitiveness about the world around him , coupled with his drive to
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learn and understand and a relentless pursuit of his dreams. This is a man who was constantly plotting to make the impossible possible, like staying under water for more than just the length of a single breath or showing the rest of the world exactly what he and his underwater team were able to sea in the deepest seas.
THe vivd and dramatic artwork closely match the storytelling to create a gripping account of one mans' adventure and contribution to the world of science and the imagination.
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LibraryThing member tlwood
This delightful biography about Jacques Cousteau captures the excitement of discovery and adventure that young people often feel when presented with new things in life. This book chronicles how Jacques' love of water and filming turned into a passion once he saw the world underwater. He and his
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friends invented scuba gear and became intensely interested in preserving the ocean.

The pictures are simple, clean, and interesting of the ocean world. The writing style is fluid and lyrical. This book would be great to read aloud to children. The author entreats the audience in the end to take care of the world and its resources and encourages youngsters to discover their own worlds.
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LibraryThing member shelf-employed
This is a softly and beautifully illustrated picture book biography of Jacques Cousteau. The illustrations were painted in acrylic on linen, and they are as soothing as the ocean life which they depict. Blues, greens, grays and shimmering silver take center stage in this short, but informative
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book. In illustrations showing human and marine life, marine life has an equal or greater presence - just as Cousteau would have liked.

The narrative is simple, yet compelling, detailing his first use of his invention, the "aqualung," Berne writes, "Below the surface, Jacques swam and glided and dove. He did flips and somersaults. He stood upside down on one finger, and laughed bubbles into the sea. Jacques could breathe beneath the water! Now he could swim across miles of ocean, his body feeling what only scales had felt, his eyes seeing what only fish had seen."

What a legacy! A great book!
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LibraryThing member hvachetta
This picture book biography paints a colorful and fun picture of the life of explorer Jacques Cousteau. It captures that sense of wonder and mystery that comes with the exploration of something new, which is a feeling most children will be able to relate to very well. This book could be useful in a
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lesson on explorers, or lessons on the ocean and marine life.
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LibraryThing member HopeMiller123
This is a biography of Jaques Cousteau, one of the world's greatest oceanographers. Since he was a young boy he loved the ocean. All he wanted was to swim and breathe underwater. Eventually his drems came true and he did get the chance to breathe underwater with the help of an oyxgen tank. He
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studied the sea and fell in love with it even more. He also discovered how much we were polluting the ocean by dumping hazrdous chemicals into it that were hurting ocean life and habitats. He writes his own books about things that he has observed underwater and ways for us to be more aware of what we are doing that effects the ocean. I liked this book very much. The illustartions were nice and I thought the story of Jaques Cousteau's life was interesting.
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LibraryThing member rwilliamson
The soft blue-tones give an underwater feel to this gentle biography. The picture book links Jacques Cousteau's childhood interests with his ultimate life’s work. Cousteau was multitalented, with friends he invented the aqualung and underwater cameras. He made numerous movies about the ocean and
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was a war hero. Manfish would be useful for lessons about biography or conservation. An interesting twist would be to use this book in the fifth grade study of explorers showing students that exploration is not something that only happened 400 years ago.
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LibraryThing member KennaEmerson
Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau is written by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Eric Puybaret. It tells the life of underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau from his childhood love of facisnation, the invention of the aqualung, and career spent discovering life underwater and advocating for better
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care of the oceans. This book is beautifully illustrated with such deep and vivid colors. I think that I would use this book to begin discussing different types of explorers (not just land explorers like Lewis and Clark or Columbus) and also different inventors. I think this book would be appropriate for students in grades 1-4.
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LibraryThing member allawishus
I picked this one up because I really enjoyed the cover illustration. Also, I have a weird fascination with Jacques Cousteau. The illustrations are what make this story worth your time. Very muted and soft-focusey. Some were done in a sequential style, like a film strip. In the story, you find out
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about what drove Jacques Cousteau to explore the oceans and seas of the world; you also learn about his inventions that facilitated his explorations. I enjoyed the book a lot.
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LibraryThing member DanaLD
This is a wonderful concise biography of Jacques Cousteau. It captures his love for life and his childlike curiousity for everything. This could be used with the younger grades because of its format, and the older grades as well. There arre lots of facts in it but there are also great illustrations.
LibraryThing member scote23
Chickadee nominee 2009-2010. I thought it was a bit wordy.
LibraryThing member LindseyB12
This has become one of my favorite books. While the topic is dear to my heart, I absolutely love the illustrations with no other explanation of why than that they are just my style. I love the color usage of both the images and the text. I like the simplistic shapes and forms of the people and
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background images. I like the use of page formats. I just adore it. This is another book to use when talking about science and reaching goals.
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LibraryThing member preetalina
Gorgeous, short but sweet book that highlights Jacques Cousteau's life. The language is simple and perfect for appealing to kids. I really love that it tries to get children involved in protecting our environment by linking it to Cousteau's message, especially on the final page of the story.

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main thing I wanted to mention is that I originally read the ebook version of this since it was available right away from my library. It was... nice but I knew I was missing something. So I ended up getting the physical book version and whoa! What a huge difference. The illustrations really come to life and you're able to emerse yourself in them. This is one of those cases where the ebook can never do this kind of physical book justice, and I feel that that may be the case for many children's books. I absolutely fell in love with the illustrations here. Get yourself the real book version of this - you won't be disappointed.
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LibraryThing member azlanshae
This story is about a young boy named Jacques who grew up in France. He was fascinated with water from a young age. He was curious about why things floated and sunk. He wanted to discover a way to breathe underwater. He spent his days playing, creating and experimenting. He also had a fascination
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with movies and he wanted to understand how film was made. He saved his own money to get a movie camera and he took it apart and put it all back together. He spent his free time writing, directing and staring in home movies. As a young adult Jacques joined the French Navy and documented the places they sailed with his camera. He was given an opportunity to borrow a friends goggles to use in the ocean, from that day his world changed. He had experienced the underwater world and he developed a waterproof camera so he could take pictures of this new world. Jacques and his friend created rubber suits and flipper to help them underwater. Eventually Jacques created a new invention called the aqualung. With this new invention he was able to breathe underwater and explore the depths of the sea. He transformed an old navy ship into an explorer ship and set off to document the underwater world. He filmed his adventures so he could share the beauty of the sea with others. In time he began to notice the harm people were doing to the ocean, so he began to warn them through film.
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LibraryThing member rdg301library
Reading Level: Primary
Genre: Biography

Summary: Manfish is a biography of Jacques Cousteau and how he grew up to be one of the most amazing well-known oceanographers ever. His accomplishments help fuel the findings of the ocean that we know today.
LibraryThing member EmilyEgert
“Manfish” is a biographical picture book of the famous oceanographer, Jaques Costeau. This book speaks of Jaques childhood, how he came to love the ocean, and his successes. This book teaches about loving the sea and taking care of the environment. I very much enjoyed this book for many
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reasons. One thing that I really loved about this book was the illustrations and the layout of the book. The background of each page is colored in with shades of blue and teal. I felt that these shades of blue and teal added to the aquatic feel of the text. There were also a few pages that folded out vertically, showing the depth of the ocean. Something else that I liked bout this book was how the text was presented on a few pages of the book. The text was written in a wave-like form, alluding to the ocean feel of the book. The last thing that I loved about this book was how the author not only taught about Jaques Costeau but also educated the readers about ideas of aquatic life. The author mentioned Jaques invention of what he called an aqualung (common day oxygen tank). The author made sure to mention to the readers that “aqua” means water to the readers, to avoid confusion.
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LibraryThing member ajfurman
One thing I liked the most about this book was the way it was written. This is definitely the most fun educational biography picture book that I have ever read. For instance, when the book reads, "Jacques dreamed that someday it would be you, exploring worlds never seen....Worlds that are now
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yours. To discover. To care for. And to love." It is being poetic and simple throughout the book and makes it easy for kids to read and absorb. The facts in this book are easily understood because of the way the author made the text. The pictures in this book were fun and imaginative, too. I appreciated the realistic 2-D pictures that carried lots of dark colors, but made them pop. Like when the book has a fold out section and Jacques is swimming down the pieces of the fold out. The dark blue background and the colors of all of the things he saw was awesome.
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LibraryThing member amassingale
Manfish is a story based on the life of Jacques Cousteau. He is an inventor that wanted to learn as much as he could about the life that he was living. He developed a passion for filming. He would film everything around him whether it was his family or just the nature around him. In his early 20's
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he went diving for the first time with a pair of goggles. After he had a taste for the ocean, he decided that he wanted to invent a way that he could stay underwater longer. At this time he created the aqualung. With the aqualung he had the ability to go underwater and film all of the life that no one had ever seen before. He used these films to create a save the ocean campaign. In the classroom I would use this as a read aloud during an ocean section or a section about global preservation. Genre: Informational, Non-fiction, Biography
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LibraryThing member jegammon
Response - I thought that this picture book did a great job highlighting events and passion that led to Jacques' success.

Curricular connections - Read aloud, guided reading group, unit on following one's dreams or on ecosystems
LibraryThing member jdaniel14
This narrative would be very beneficial to the classroom. Through reading about Jacques Cousteau, students could take note of his wonder and awe of his surrounding. They could also take note of his experiments and inventions that were results of him exploring and problem solving. This book could
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also be a mentor text for NGSS 5-ESS3-1, and students could see how Cousteau used movies to protect the environment.
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(86 ratings; 4.3)
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