Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review of Escaping Titanic: A Young Girl's True Story of Survival

With the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic this year, numerous books were published to commemorate the tragedy. This picture book relates the story of one of the young survivors, 12 year-old Ruth Becker. Her father was a missionary and the family had been in India. Ruth, her mother, her four year-old sister, Marion, and the baby named Richard were all heading back to the States on the Titanic while their father stayed behind. Mother was very nervous about the trip; but, everyone kept reassuring her that everything would be okay.

The first part of this picture book shows some of the things that the girls did to pass their time. When it comes to the day of sinking, the date and time appears at the top of each page, to denote the timelines of events. Some suspense kicks in when Ruth gets separated from her family. Will she make it to a lifeboat and will all of them survive?

The book gives enough detail about the sinking to provide children with an understanding of what happened. It does not get into the gory, horrific details about all of the people freezing to death in the water, though it acknowledges that part of the tragedy. 

I appreciate that this book is a true story, instead of a fictional account based on the sinking. It definitely lends more credibility to the story. While I enjoy fiction, I would prefer to use an real survivor story when teaching children about the tragedy.

The illustrations in this book, though, remind me more of a computer-generated cartoon movie. They almost look like stills from an animated show. This is not my favorite type of illustration, especially as it seems to detract a bit from the "true story" being told. The people are more cartoon-y than the pictures of the Titanic, which seem more realistic.

At the end of the book, there is a real picture of Ruth, as well as a page telling about the rest of her life and how it was affected by being a Titanic survivor. There is also a brief timelines of the sinking of the Titanic and an Internet resource via FactHound for kids to do more research. I would definitely include this book in an elementary unit on the Titanic. I think it is more appropriate for those in the younger grades, because it does not overwhelm them with the horror.

I received an eARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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