The Aquanaut: A Graphic Novel is a cute story with a theme about environmentalism, animal conservation and family. The story is when a handful of sea creatures find a surprise at the bottom of the ocean, it leads them on an adventure with a young girl and her uncle.
A Sea-World like park is filled with the research and animals found by Sophia’s father (lost at sea several years ago) and her uncle. A handful of critters from the actual ocean, have banded together to make an oddball family unit. And by repurposed an old diving suit (probably before Jacques Cousteau even) to go to “space” (outside the ocean, as there is no water, just space) they want to travel to Aqualand where they will be safe from the natural and manmade dangers they deal with. But instead of a safe, new home, they behind the waves of amazement, there is real trouble brewing. These aquatic and land beings make an unusual, but formable friendship/bond and do whatever they can to keep the real spirit of Sophia’s father’s research alive. And what is best for the animals and for Sophia and her uncle, might not necessarily be the easiest.
The illustrations and text are signature Dan Santat, if you thought Finding Nemo was funny, then you will want to read about Sophia and what I came to call The Suit. The colors are muted, but not faded, and the details are minimal but get the job done. They capture the spirit of the humor, that calms the more seriousness of what is happening to the wildlife. It is not overly serious (after all, there are various sea creatures walking about like nothing is wrong in an old-fashioned diving suit) but we are talking about wild animals in captivity and the loss of loved ones.
Advice from the book: Do not sit in the front row of the orca display, you will get wet. But that does not matter as you’ll be safe and dry at home reading this delightful graphic novel. Besides an orca show in March 2022 might not be the warmest thing to do.