From School Library Journal
Grade 3-5?This book covers the six days surrounding the sinking of the Titanic, as seen through the eyes of two survivors: 17-year-old Jack Thayer, a passenger, and Harold Bride, the 22-year-old assistant wireless operator. With fictionalized words and feelings attributed to these actual historical figures, the text has a slightly stilted feel to it. Facts and details about the ship are sometimes awkwardly inserted into Jack's experiences, especially during the first part of the book. But overall, the fictionalization works fairly well. Jack observes details that give immediacy to the disaster and the people involved. As the story progresses towards the catastrophe, it is hard not to get caught up in the tension. By the time of the actual shipwreck, readers know Jack pretty well, as well as a few other passengers, so the tragedy has a personal impact beyond the sheer numbers. Numerous full-color and black-and-white diagrams, historical photographs and drawings, and original paintings help bring the voyage to life. Technical flaws that contributed to the tragedy are woven neatly into the text and diagrams. Robert Ballard's Exploring the Titanic (Scholastic, 1988) is more fascinating, and Deborah Kent's The Titanic (Childrens, 1993) gives a drier, more straightforward account, while Daisy Spedden's Polar the Titanic Bear (Little, 1994) offers a more fanciful fictionalized version. Tanaka's book will serve as an attractive introduction to a popular topic.?Steven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library,
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5^-7. The doomed voyage of the Titanic
holds a mysterious fascination for children and adults, whether the story is fact or fiction. In this solidly told tale, the maiden voyage of the "unsinkable" ship is re-created with stunning vividness. There are intimate glimpses of many of the passengers and crew, including 17-year-old Jack Thayer, who is sailing with his parents, and the much maligned Bruce Ismay, president of the company that owned the Titanic
. The illustrations are splendid. Each painting is skillfully realized, capturing the breadth and opulence of the largest ship to grace the oceans at the time. Especially breathtaking are the scenes of the Titanic
against midnight blue backdrops with otherworldly-looking icebergs that seem to glow with eerie menace. The tragic story of the ship that was supposed to be indestructible holds up well in this new telling and is enhanced by well-done diagrams and excellent photographs. Denia Hester