#1283 – JOURNEY UNDER THE ARCTIC by Fraioli, Cousteau, & St. Pierre


Fabien Cousteau Expeditions
Written by James O. Fraioli & Fabien Cousteau
Illustrated by Joe St. Pierre
Margaret K. McElderry Books 3/17/2020
106 Pages   Age 8—12

Genre:  Graphic Novel, Fiction
Themes: Deep-Sea Exploration, Arctic Circle


Junior explorers Rocco and Olivia embark on an exciting journey into the frigid Arctic waters with famed explorer Fabien Cousteau and his research team. Together, they hope to find the rare dumbo octopus and study how this exceptional creature is able to live in such an extreme climate.

To get there, they’ll board an icebreaker to travel to the Arctic Circle, and will come face-to-face with polar bears, puffins, Arctic hares, and more. Then they’ll climb into a submersible and dive deep under the surface to see whales, narwhals, and other incredible species only found in these mysterious depths.

Join the team on this deep-sea expedition to learn how the changing climate affects the ocean and its inhabitants, and discover what you can do to help save the planet! (from book jacket)

Opening Sentences

‘On deck! Ship ahead!’
‘She looks badly beaten.’
‘Her frosted sails are tattered ad torn . . . barely hanging on the masts. Might she be deserted?’
‘Prepare a boarding party.’
‘Aye, Captain.’”

Why I like Journey Under the Arctic

After breaking through ice with the Snow Serpent (an icebreaker ship) Fabien Cousteau’s team, plus two junior expeditioners, Rocco and Olivia, head inland on foot. The Arctic cold is kept away by special suits called Deluxe Anti-Exposure Work Suit (with a heating system). Along the way the team sees an iceberg pulled by a tug that will be used for fresh water by those who call the Arctic home. They see Arctic Puffins (their Latin name means, “Little Brother of the North”), an Arctic Hare (run up to 40 MPH), Arctic Poppies, (a rare flower found only in the Arctic), and Arctic Bumblebees (pollinate the plants that grow in the Arctic).

They meet with the Inuit who live in igloos trying to recreate their ancestors’ life in order to teach to their children these older ways of living. The Chief is a friend of Fabien’s and helps locate the elusive dumbo octopus. While at the Inuit camp, Rocco and Olivia learn Inuit words, build an igloo, and learn other ways of life before the team heads back to the ship.

On day three, the team uses the submersible to try and locate a cave where the dumbo octopus has been seen. They must navigate small ice cracks until their entry point. At that spot, the submersible will take the team down thousands of miles in search of the dumbo octopus. A Beluga whale, with its flexible neck, greets the team as they enter the water. On shore are polar bears searching for food. The bears would love to catch a beluga whale. The team also see an Arctic Fox, hooded seals, harp seals, ringed seals, Arctic terns, and a walrus, but because there are so many animals in the area, the submersible returns, hoping for a better area tomorrow.

On the fourth day, the Sedna submersible just gets past a large Bowhead whale and makes its dive into the deep sea. Here are narwhals, Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, even an Orca. The Sedna goes down 5000 feet to the bottom where the team finds a large egg ready to hatch. It is a baby dumbo octopus! It looks more like a stuffed toy than an aquatic creature. Now all the team must do is capture the octopus, study it for a while, and return it unharmed to the deep of this cave they are in.

Journey Under the Arctic is an exciting ride along with one of science’s eminent explorers. Along the way, kids will learn about dozens of cold climate creatures and some of their specific abilities that help them in this frigid region. Climate control is a topic very dear to Fabien and he teaches his junior expeditioners as much as he can, including small things they can do now that will have a big effect on the planet. The Arctic is one region suffering because of climate change. Polar bears lack the food they need, the polar ice caps are melting, taking with it lots of living space these creatures need.

The journey for the rare dumbo octopus, which has fins on each side of its head and looks nothing like the octopus we imagine, is an exciting trip deep into the sea and into a cave. Kids will learn about this illusive creature and get a chance to understand how difficult it can be to study some of these very deep-sea creatures. They will learn in a non-intrusive manner, never knowing they are having a lesson while they read the exciting text.

The series is perfect for middle grade age kids interested in the world around them and, really, what kid is not interested. Kids can imagine themselves on these adventures as one of the junior expeditioners. When the Sedna loses its power, the tension these explorers are under can be felt, along with the relief when the power returns. Being 5000 feet down into the Arctic Ocean, in a cave, is not the time to lose power. Fabien explains how crushing the underwater sea would be if they left the submersible, which is pressurized.

Written as a graphic novel, the reading is quick and fun. Reluctant readers will enjoy this format in addition to any child interested in sea creatures and the environment. Journey Under the Arctic is the second in the Fabien Cousteau Expedition series. The first was the Great White Shark Adventure.

Illustrations Rendered digitally.

Available at Amazon:  Journey Under the Arctic (Fabien Cousteau Expeditions) 

JOURNEY UNDER THE ARCTIC  (Fabien Cousteau Expeditions). Text Copyright © 2020 by James O. Fraioli & Fabien Cousteau.  Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Joe St. Pierre. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster Co., New York, NY.


Copyright © 2020 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
[719 word count-review only]

[I am an Amazon affiliate. When you purchase through a link on KLR, you are supporting Kid Lit Reviews. For each sale, KLR makes a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. This is an easy way to show your support for this site, without using your own money. For each commission received, I gratefully thank you.]

Be Advised: Kid Lit Reviews has a new domain name, which will be the only domain by 2021. Please change your settings for reaching KLR. Thanks!

New: kidslitreview.com   Until 2021: kid-lit-reviews.com     (both work now)


NEXT UP: PB – I Will Dance by Nancy Bo Flood & Julianna Swaney


If you like this post ... Why?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.