- ISBN-13: 9780316557160
- ISBN-10: 0316557161
- Publisher: Little Brown & Co
- Publish Date: July 1997
- Page Count: 32
- Reading Level: Ages 8-UP
- Dimensions: 1 x 11.5 x 14.75 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.55 pounds
Ever notice how one event can change the meaning and aura of a word? Take the word "titanic" for example. Until April 14, 1912, it was a rather stylish term meaning colossal, of great magnitude, having derived from Greek mythology. It seemed the perfect word to name the world's largest ship as she readied for her one and only voyage from Southampton, England, across the Atlantic. Now "titanic" immediately reminds us of the terrible tragedy when the supposedly unsinkable ship struck an iceberg and sank three hours later, causing the deaths of more than 1500 people.
Some 85 years later, we are learning more and more about the scope and horror of the catastrophe as items are retrieved from the sunken liner. In addition to a half dozen new books, both fiction and documentary, two CD-Roms, ten permanent museum exhibits, a Broadway musical and the traveling Titanic exhibition, a blockbuster movie is soon to open.
Kids, ages 7 and up, can have a giant introduction to the ship and its tragedy in Ken Marschall's big, new book "Inside the Titanic." Marschall is one of the world's leading maritime artists and an expert on the Titanic. His full-color paintings and a few from other sources are of photographic quality, many with cutaways to give a clear idea of the ship's compartments and five floors, including swimming pool, Turkish baths, and gymnasium with rowing machine - a veritable floating city that could accommodate 3547 people (about 2200 on board).
Beside the gripping pictures and captions, the book tells the stories of two real-life boys who sailed on the ill-fated ship. Nine-year-old Frank Goldsmith is sailing with his mother and father who hopes to find work in Detroit. They have third-class tickets and a small room near the stern. Billy Carter, his sister and parents, a maid and valet, and their King Charles spaniel have a more stately compartment on B-deck. Frank eats soup, corned beef and cabbage at lunch; Billy has fresh lobster, shrimp and roast beef, but "left behind the pickled herrings and corned ox tongue."
Through the eyes and conversations of these two boys, readers get an age-appropriate sense of the tragic events that night. Both boys escaped in lifeboats and were rescued by the Carpathia. Frank later wrote a book about his experiences, but Billy, later a businessman in Philadelphia, never liked to talk about the Titanic. Both of them died in the 1980s.
"Inside the Titanic" will appeal to kids with a technical bent. The actual sinking is simply explained in four steps on the spread with Marschall's dramatic picture showing the ship breaking in two and the front half going down. The book concludes with pictures and information about discovery of the sunken remains in 1985 and continuing exploration.
Reviewed by LouAnn Jones.