Teaching Process Skills With Children’s Literature: Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau


Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Eric Puybaret takes children on a journey through the life of a curious boy who later became an inventor, film maker, explorer and marine conservationist.

“From the very beginning 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. And why rocks sank.”

It was this curiosity that led him to push the limits, and explore a part of our world yet to be known. “…people all over the world discovered the wonders of the sea for the very first time, with Jacques, Philippe, Didi and their adventurous crew.”

Jacques eagerness to breathe under water brought us the invention of “aqualungs”, “rubber suits to keep themselves warm and flippers to help them kick better.” (Scuba diving)   He even “created a waterproof case for his camera”.

Curriculum Connections
is suitable for 2nd and 3rd graders and compliments Virginia SOL 2.1 and 3.1. While the reading level is quite easy for a third grader the story is applicable as it reinforces observation, prediction and questioning skills and inspires children to look beyond the surface and consider things that have not yet been discovered. Students are motivated to explore and question how and why things happen. They are encouraged to follow Cousteau’s example, observe what is around them, and develop their curiosity to explore the unknown.

Additional Resources

  • Cousteau Kids offers additional reading material about Cousteau’s accomplishments, and provides a wealth of knowledge concerning environmental projects, expeditions, conservation news, environmental issues, society activities, books and movies. Children can subscribe to the bi-monthly magazine. There are also packages for teachers which include classroom subscription and student activities.
  • This website offers observation activities and other scientific investigations for various grade levels.
  • An experiment allowing students to observe differences between salt water and fresh water.

Book: Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau
Jennifer Berne
Illustrator: Eric Puybaret
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: April 2008
Pages: 40
Grade Range: 1-3
ISBN: 978-0811860635

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