Jacques Cousteau was the world’s ambassador of the oceans. His popular TV series brought whales, otters, and dolphins right into people’s living rooms. Now, in this exciting picturebook biography, Dan Yaccarino introduces young readers to the man behind the snorkel.
From the first moment he got a glimpse of what lived under the ocean’s waves, Cousteau was hooked. And so he set sail aboard the Calypso to see the sea. He and his team of scientists invented diving equipment and waterproof cameras. They made films and televisions shows and wrote books so they could share what they learned. The oceans were a vast unexplored world, and Cousteau became our guide. And when he saw that pollution was taking its toll on the seas, Cousteau became our guide in how to protect the oceans as well.
Yaccarino (Every Friday) dives into more complex material than many of his previous books for younger readers with this captivating biography. Weak and sickly as a boy, Cousteau turned to the Mediterranean (and to tinkering) in his youth, but his life changes forever when a friend gives him a pair of goggles. ( Man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free, says the oceanographer his exuberant quotes lend the story a bubbly energy.) Cousteau makes his own diving equipment the Aqua-Lung, a cover for his camera, undersea lighting eventually equipping his own research vessel and sharing the world's oceans through his many films and books. Yaccarino's retro-style spreads smoky blues and violets contrasting with vibrant reds and golds are nicely suited to Cousteau's underwater playground; the fuzzy quality of his airbrushing makes it seem as though readers are submerged themselves. Yaccarino's somewhat abstracted forms won't satisfy children who want photo-real views of sea life, but the author's enthusiasm for Cousteau, as well as the majesty and mystery of the sea, is apparent on every page. Ages 6 9.