Top critical review
on March 22, 2013
This week I read the first in the series of four Time Voyage books, Return to Titanic, by Steve Brezenoff (2012, 104 pages). It took less than an hour, during which not much happened.
Book description from Amazon:
On the first day of their spring break, best friends Tucker and Maya discover a "Special Collection" of Titanic artifacts at the local museum. But the artifacts have more power than they know. When they touch a magic ticket, Tucker and Maya find themselves transported 100 years in the past to Titanic's maiden voyage. Now they must figure out how to save a new friend, and return to the present, before time runs out.
This would imply that they figured out how to save their new friend, no? They didn't. That must happen in one of the later books. I love when characters in books must use their wits to get out of difficult situations. But, technically, although the description would imply otherwise, Tucker and Maya did not figure out how to return to the present, either. (I won't give away too much of the plot.)
Nonetheless, I liked the sense of humor in the book a lot. The story was pleasant and easy to read. The packaging of the book is very appealing. It has lots of great drawings, some full-page. The book is broken up into chapters, and at the beginning of each chapter there's a map of where Tucker and Maya will be in that chapter. (Are you starting to see why the book only took me an hour?) There are four pages of additional info about the Titanic in the back. The attractive, non-intimidating format reminded me of the American Girl Series of books, and I think this book would be appropriate for that age crowd.
I pondered why the author chose to divide the story of Tucker and Maya into four books. Perhaps a reluctant reader would be more likely to pick up this thin book than one thick book containing the whole story? I felt cheated by the lack of substance, however. I like learning history via fiction and I didn't learn much from this book. I learned a lot more from Ghosts of the Titanic,and the National Geographic website.
Based only on a hunch, I'm confident the other books in this series are more exciting. If you're seeking time travel books about the Titanic for young middle grade readers I think you could just read a summary of this one, and go straight to the second one.