After a little research, I realized that one of the issues I was having with the Fabien Cousteau Expeditions book of exploring the Hawaiian ocean (the seemingly humble brags of Cousteau himself) was that it was the fourth book in the series, and it was recapping the previous stories. In Deep Into the Amazon Jungle by James O. Fraioli and Fabien Cousteau, this issue comes up when mentioning his Artic adventures (book two) but it felt less “braggy.” (Book one is Great White Shark Adventure (also going to be reviewed here) and Amazon book three).
I will start with the Amazon adventure as it has a couple points, I found controversial. The themes of the books are to deal with environmental issues. And I understand that. I understand that the deforestation of the Amazon jungle is a horrific thing, but also there is “the other side.” Farmers need to make a living (raising cattle), furniture needs to be built, and books do need paper (for bookstores and libraries). And this book really villainizes the logger. Having come from a logging and farming family, I know the other sides. I would like to see balances and not extremes one or the other. Therefore, I would like these books to be a great jumping off point for talking about the issues.
But that is for another time. The Amazon story is Fabien and two of his junior explores looking for a new species of piranha. Along the way they find wolf spiders, various fish, snakes, caimans, and the native peoples of the area. They also find poisonous dart frogs (which I have a fondness for. The BFS they run into, not so much. Especially since it eats capybaras which I also have a fondness for). And yes, the species of piranha they find are new and they must figure out if it is dangerous to humans.
The Great White Shark Adventure introduces us to Fabien and his connection to Jacques Cousteau (as grandson and grandfather). This is the start of two of the junior explorers following Cousteau to the location of an area we will explore. This time in South Africa and looking for great white sharks.
Along the way we find dolphins, whales, penguins, stingrays, seals, as well as talking about the sharks. The theme of each story is showing the balance of things, how if you take one factor out of the equation, it will tip the scales. There is talk about Hollywood verses real sharks and even some of the controversy surrounding shark cages (and the new style used).
Joe St. Pierre is our artist and their cartoon like illustrations wrap everything up neatly. Especially in the shark novel, the images are tastefully done (there is chum used and showing sharks attacking prey).