I grew up watching the TV series The Undersea World of Jacque Cousteau with my family in the late 1960s and early 1970s. For a little girl living in Boise, Idaho, his beautiful footage of exotic fish, strange underwater plants and faraway oceans was almost more than I could comprehend. And even though I was a bit afraid of the ocean, I enjoyed his passion for the seas and the fascinating creatures who live there.
The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino, 40 pages (2009) and Manfish: A Story of Jacque Cousteau by Jennifer Berne, 38 pages (2008) are two well-written picture books of Mr. Cousteau’s life and describe how he revolutionized the world of deep-sea diving. His is a fascinating story starting with his early life in France as a sickly child to his invention the Aqua-Lung and eventually exploring the world’s oceans aboard his famous ship the Calypso.
Picture books like The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau and Manfish: A Story of Jacque Cousteau are just the kind of preparatory books I’ve mentioned before that I liked to use with my children before introducing them to a full-length biography or autobiography of someone. After reading these picture books, you’ll also enjoy watching a few of the original TV shows now on You Tube.
If, after reading the short picture books, you find that Jacque Cousteau really hits the mark for your child, try reading Jacque Cousteau: A Life Under the Sea by Kathleen Olmstead, 128 pages (2008) which will flesh out his life and achievements in a more substantial way.
Early and Middle Grade Reading Levels