The Aquanaut by Dan Santat


The Aquanaut by Dan Santat, graphix/Scholastic, 2022.  9780545497619

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Paperback graphic ARC (published March 1, 2022)

Genre: Animal/Fantasy fiction

What did you like about the book? Sophie’s Dad and Uncle are marine research scientists.  During a storm at sea, her father goes under, greeted by four small sea creatures who manage to save the bottle he has been holding onto.  Sophia is lost without her father; she has her uncle but he spends most of his time doing research.  It seems, however, that the four little sea creatures (a crab, a turtle, a small octopus and a blanket octopus) have taken up residence in the helmet of an antique diving costume.  They can manipulate it on land with no one realizing there is no human inside.  They are hoping to find safety in Aqualand which unfortunately turns out to be an amusement park, not an aquarium.  When Sophia discovers who is inside the Aquanaut, she knows she must keep them secret.  Dan Santat’s illustrations are mostly black and white in this galley but all will be in color in the finished book.  Santat’s mastery in facial expressions displaying anger, fear, joy, terror, anguish, embarrassment, surprise is superb as are those depicting action.  The distinct personality of each little sea creature conveys individuality.  There appears to be an assortment of races and ethnicities but in black and white they are not clear.

Anything you did not like about the book?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book? Those who like wacky graphic novels with a lot of humor should love this one.  Recommend it to those who liked Squirrel Do Bad by Stephan Pastis, Wallace the Brave by Will Henry and/or Max and the Midnights by Lincoln Peirce.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it? J Graphic novels

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Top of your graphic novel pile

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Contributor, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: January 8, 2022

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