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The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  729 Ratings  ·  160 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 24th 2009 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Sep 22, 2010 Kathryn rated it really liked it
An enjoyable and informative glimpse into the life of Jacques Cousteau, particularly his inventions for exploring the fantastic world beneath the waves. I especially appreciated the quotes scattered throughout the book so we could hear things in Cousteau's own words.

If one is seeking picture book biographies of Cousteau, this one will inevitably be compared to Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau and I think both are worthy tributes to the subject. The illustrations in "Fantastic Undersea" are
This is another great book with insights into the life of Jacques Cousteau! Previously I had read Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau which I also thoroughly enjoyed! I think my sister put it best when she said that "Manfish" gives more information on Cousteau's younger life, and this book gives more information on his young adult/early adult years. Personally, I enjoyed the illustrations in "Manfish" a little more (a tad more realistic) but that is purely personal and I thought these illustrat ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Oct 17, 2009 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children, adventure, quest
My Thoughts:
The text of this book wowed me. I could not stop reading to see what would happen to Cousteau. I liked its simplicity and its clearness. I liked how accessible the text was, even for the youngest of readers.

The illustrations were fun and cartoonish. I didn’t like the colors the Yaccarino used for the water at first, every color except ocean blue, I think, but the colors grew on me, and I grew to love them. I was very surprised how much the children liked this book and how much they w
The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau (2009) by Dan Yaccarino. Genre: Children's Biography. This children's book tells the true life story of Jacques Cousteau, a man who loved the sea and spent his whole life exploring it. While his early life was filled with several obstacles, his love for water and the sea overpowered anything in his way. Along with written text, this children book also depicts beautiful watercolor illustrations of underwater sea life (i.e. jellyfish, whales, penguin ...more
The Reading Countess
Jan 13, 2010 The Reading Countess rated it really liked it
This was a new biography that my librarian allowed me to preview before she put it on the shelves. I'm glad she did, since I really liked it and read it aloud to my students. Most of them had never heard of this great man, and it saddened me. They were fascinated that he invented so many of the tools of underwater sea exploration that we now take for granted. I used this book to talk about life lessons applied to our own lives (we call this the SO-WHAT in our class).
David Choquette
Jan 27, 2014 David Choquette rated it it was amazing
A good biography not only informs readers but inspires them to dream big and work hard to achieve their dreams. Dan Yaccarino’s picture book biography of Jacques Cousteau uses simple prose and colorful pictures to convey to young readers the passion and accomplishments of the 20th century’s eminent oceanographer. It chronicles Cousteau’s boyhood in France, where doctors told him that swimming would help him overcome injury and weakness. As he grew he became more and more fascinated by the sea an ...more
Lili Martin
Feb 13, 2011 Lili Martin rated it liked it
This book was amazing. It had awesome pics in it and it's really easy to read because it only takes one day. In such a short book it can tell you a lot about him. Here's a fact, Jacques got in a car accident but never gave up his under water life. He swam, explored the under world, and designed a new snorkeling suite. Wow is he good. That's good for someone who had a hard child life.
Clare Santos-Gacad
May 03, 2015 Clare Santos-Gacad rated it it was amazing
This book is all about Jacques Cousteau. It begins with talking about his childhood and from the moment he saw the ocean, he was automatically hooked. This story takes you from where Cousteau started and all of his adventures into the Ocean and the unexplored world.

The full page spreads were created by using gouache and airbrush on watercolored paper. Each page does a great job imitating the underwater world with all of its inhabitants. This book contains lots of facts and has a circular figure
I have discovered a genre that I love - the picture book biography. It is my hope that elementary school teachers have also discovered this wonderful genre because the format hides the quality of the information from people who just dismiss it offhand without looking inside.

This is a beautiful introduction to Cousteau's life, his inventions, and to sea exploration. Like most of the picture book bios that I have loved, this one has a time line and additional information in the back that adds to
Sherri Anderson
This colorfully illustrated biography tells the life story of Jacques Cousteau. Because of poor health in his boyhood, Cousteau fell in love with the water when doctors recommended he swim to build up his strength. Readers learn that Cousteau was interested in tinkering and building “all sorts of gadgets” even as a boy. A turning point for Cousteau occurred when a friend gave him a pair of goggles to see underwater. “Those goggles changed his life forever.”

The background information about Couste
Aug 06, 2014 Sandy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, childrens, memoir-bio
So who exactly is Jacques Cousteau? I remember watching the TV series as a child, fascinated with all the underwater sea life that Jacques and his crew got to see first-hand ever day. I remember just saying his name as a child, made me feel important. In Dan Yaccarino’s book, Jacques’ life is laid out in tall pages with bright watercolor illustrations. Colorful sea creatures, fish and humans fill the pages with contrasting text which are sure to enlighten you as you explore the life of this famo ...more
May 01, 2010 Charlyn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any age
Recommended to Charlyn by: Texas Bluebonnet Award Reading List 2010
If you're as old as I am, you watched Jacques Cousteau on television and were charmed by this passionate Frenchman. Today's young readers are ignorant of his contributions to our understanding and awareness of the importance of the oceans. Using brightly-colored illustrations and large print, Dan Yaccarino educates today's youth about Cousteau's great love of the sea. Bubbles within the illustrations contain pithy quotations from the oceanographer (and, in my head, they were each read with a Fre ...more
Amanda Harris
This book provides the reader with a brief, yet effective, summary of the life of Jacques Cousteau. At a very young age, Jacques was a very sickly boy and was told to swim as a therapy to build his strength up. This first encounter with the sea made a huge impact on Cousteau and pretty much started a love affair with the sea and sea-life. He dedicated the rest of his life to protecting the sea and sea life. Cousteau also is credited with developing many devices used while scuba diving and gettin ...more
Janet Frost
Underwater exploration has become a passion for me and my husband the last decade. But even before that I fondly remember watching The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau on TV on Sunday evenings. It must have followed the Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom or something.
In my formative years we always referred to Jacques Cousteau when someone loved the water. I am sure it had to do with his exotic sounding French name as well. It does kind of roll off your tongue.
This book is a very succinct and com
Oct 18, 2012 Jamaica rated it it was amazing
Jacques Cousteau was told by doctors that he was sick and he needed to build up his strength. He swam and got fascinated with the ocean. His first time wearing goggles set off a chain even that changed his life. In his lifetime he accomplished so much-created Aqua Lung, created airtight lens for his camera, filmed the first movie underwater, started Cousteau Society and more!

The pictures for the book had a tissue paper layered look to it. They were very mystical and colorful. I read it on the Ki
Kayla Krecklow
Dec 05, 2012 Kayla Krecklow rated it really liked it
I am very into sea animals and once I saw this book I knew it would be one I could connect with. I didn't know much about Jacques Cousteau before but this book taught me a lot about his childhood.

The biography talked about his childhood and how he was a weak child and that the doctors told him to swim to build strength, which is how he fell in love with the water. He was also in a car accident and was told he had to wear braces on his arms for the rest of his life, which he wasn't happy with, s
Gail Lebeter
The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau invites us to learn more about the man who became oceans' most important advocate. We are introduced to the reasons Cousteau loved the oceans, underwater life and exploring, while enjoying Dan Yaccarino's beautiful illustrations. This biographical tale will inspire young and old to put on a pair of goggles and see what the ocean holds.

I absolutely LOVED this book, so much more I expected to. I have never had a real interest in learni
Oct 21, 2012 Cecilia rated it really liked it

Jacques Cousteau became fascinated with the ocean when his doctors encouraged him to swim to build up his strength. He became so fascinated; he wanted to share his interest with the world. This Kindle version introduces us to all of Jacques Cousteau accomplishments, and through Dan Yaccarino’s stunning illustrations, we learn why Jacques Cousteau enjoyed the ocean so much.


I enjoyed reading this book because of the illustrations. The illustrations were so creative and it made me c
Kyla C.
Oct 20, 2012 Kyla C. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Parents/Teachers/ Students
Jacques Cousteau was just a young boy when doctors told him he’d have to wear arm braces for the rest of his life. But his love of the water gave him strength. One day a friend gave him goggles and his life changed forever. With his love of water and tinkering Jacques invented things that would help him breath underwater for long periods of time. Jacques discovered many things in the sea and shot the first underwater film ever made. He wanted to share his love of the sea with everyone and he wan ...more
Tony Montez
Jacques Cousteau was sick growing up. As a child and through his whole life he always had a facination with two things, water, and inventing. The doctor told Jacques that swimming would help to build up his muscles and help him grown stronger and healthier. As he was growing up and getting better, he was in a terrible car accident that messed up his arms and he was told he would have to wear braces on them for the rest of his life. Again Jacques took to the water and eventually made him a
Jacqueline Campos
Jacques Cousteau was a curious man who loved inventing things and loved the ocean. His love for the ocean opened its secrets to the world because Jacques Cousteau found a way to capture its beauty and share it with everyone.

Jacques Cousteau states that “sometimes we are lucky enough to know that our lives have been changed.” (Kindle version at 27%, location 35 of 138). I like this saying because there have been very few times in my life where I felt this way. He says this when he first receive
Nicole Gonzalez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Colour drenched, stylized illustrations, carefully selected quotes and simple, informative text open our eyes and imaginations to the creativity, curiosity and commitment of this explorer, inventor, filmmaker extraordinaire.

You can listen in on our chat about this book on our Just One More Book! Children's Book Podcast.

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Alexandria Hiam
Really great illustrated biography of Jacques Cousteau for children. Beautiful pictures, depict the highlights of his underwater accomplishments, includes inspirational quotes from Cousteau. I think readers of all ages will appreciate this book and find Cousteau a very inspirational man as they learn of his persistence to pursue his dreams, his inventions, and his desire to share what he has learned. This book is most appropriate for students in grades K through 4.
Really great illustrated biography of Jacques Cousteau for children. Beautiful pictures, depict the highlights of his underwater accomplishments, includes inspirational quotes from Cousteau. I think readers of all ages will appreciate this book and find Cousteau a very inspirational man as they learn of his persistence to pursue his dreams, his inventions, and his desire to share what he has learned. This book is most appropriate for students in grades K through 4.
Feb 22, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it
The pictures on this book are colorful and pretty, and it gives a good introduction to Jacques Cousteau. I wish I'd known more about Cousteau growing up, since I really liked undersea stuff despite growing up in the Midwest, and I would've been totally fascinated by Cousteau and his friend Emile Gagnan's engineering exploits, which apparently included the aqua lung, underwater photography and submersibles! Yay for informative children's books :-)
We watched The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (1966-1976) on television every week when I was growing up, so I was pleased to discover a picture book biography of the man. The text is minimal, but it covers the highlights of Cousteau's brilliant career. Bright colours, simple shapes and heavy line drawings give a retro feel to Yaccarino's illustrations.

Each spread has a quote from Cousteau; this was my favourite aspect of the book. "If we were logical, the future would be bleak indeed. But w
Reviewed at:

Summary: Jacques Cousteau was a sickly young boy who found strength in the sea and he never wanted to leave it. It was Jacques goal in life to learn as much as he could about the wonderful undersea world.

What I Think:I had no idea! I've heard Jacques Cousteau's name my whole life, but never really learned who he was or what he did. Wow! He is someone that should be celebrated by all! I am in awe of the man that I just learned about.
As for the
Ashley Enlow
I think this book did a wonderful job describing the Life of Jacques Cousteau. The book is written clearly for young readers. Pictures are beautiful and creative. Many pages have extra facts in bubbles which are always fun to know!
A fantastic book to introduce undersea life and the history of scuba diving. A new favorite for science-related reading. Great for any elementary grade and balanced literacy interaction.
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Exhibitions of his work have been held throughout the world. He is also the creator of the animated TV Series Willa's Wild Life and Oswald.

Mr. Yaccarino lives in New York City with his wife and two children.
More about Dan Yaccarino...

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“If we were logical, the future would be bleak indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we have faith, and we have hope, and we can work.” 1 likes
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