Caramel loves graphic novels and he loves all books by Dan Santat. So when he heard about The Aquanaut, the new (2022) graphic novel by Dan Santat, he knew he had to read and review it as soon as possible for the book bunnies blog. This is that review. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.
Sprinkles: Please tell us about this book Caramel.
Caramel: The book starts with a ship sinking, and someone’s brother dies. And then four sea animals convert the man’s diving suit into a walking suit so they can move on land. They go on land with this suit to find Aqualand, the dead man’s marine reserve.
S: That is an interesting premise for a story. What are the four animals?
C: There is a dumbo octopus, who is the engineer, a hermit crab, a blanket octopus, and a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.
S: I had never heard of these animals before, except hermit crabs, who I know take over shells abandoned by other animals. So in some sense taking over a diving suit is perfectly appropriate for a hermit crab. But I had never heard of a blanket octopus.
C: Apparently the males are as big as a walnut but the females can get as large as six feet!
S: That is very interesting!
C: But I had heard of the dumbo octopus before, too.
S: That is neat. You do know a lot about ocean animals! You have read all the Narwhal and Jelly books, and reviewed The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson for the blog too.
C: Yes. But I learned from this book that Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are the rarest and most endangered sea turtles in the world. And the others think the ocean is getting a little too dangerous so they think Aqualand should be safer.
S: How do they learn about Aqualand?
C: They find the notebook of the man who died. His name is Michael and he wrote about Aqualand in his notebook.
S: So Aqualand is a marine life reserve, right?
C: Michael and his brother Paul founded it to be a reserve, and Michael’s daughter Sophia still thinks it is one, but when the aquanaut crew, that is the four animals using the diving suit, come to Aqualand, they find out that it is now just an amusement park. And the animals there are not happy. So they set free an orca and …
S: Hmm, that reminded me a lot of the FunJungle books Marshmallow reviewed. In particular, Belly Up.
C: I can see that! Belly Up was also in an amusement park, but it was supposed to be a zoo where the animals would live their lives as naturally as possible.
S: So in The Aquanaut, the animals that steer the diving suit meet Michael’s daughter Sophia, right?
C: Yes. And both Sophia and Paul help the four animals escape and get back to the ocean.
S: That sounds like a sweet story Caramel.
C: Yes definitely. Can we put here the video that Dan Santat recorded for the book?
S: Yes, sure. Here it is.
S: So what would your three words be to describe this book?
C: Colorful, exciting, and sweet. You said that word and I think it works for the book, too.
S: Sounds good to me. So do you think Marshmallow would like this book?
C: Yes, I think so. She loved the FunJungle books and she likes graphic novels too. I think actually that any bunny who likes the ocean and who likes the environment would like this book.
S: That is a solid endorsement Caramel. So what do you want to tell our readers as we wrap up this review?
C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!