Voyage on the Great Titanic
by Ellen Emerson White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Voyage on the Great Titanic (R.M.S. Titanic) / 0-590-96273-6
"Voyage on the Great Titanic" is unusual for a Dear America installation for several reasons. The narrator is not an American, nor does the story originate there - instead, Margaret is a native of the British isles and is traveling to America as a companion to a wealthy patron, with the intent to settle in America permanently on arrival. The novel is shorter than most, and deals very linearly with the Titanic disaster. Although these books are enjoyable for parents and children alike, I usually try to review these with parents in mind, so here we go.
Once again, high standards are met here for historical accuracy and realism. Margaret's tale of the Titanic's destruction and her fear and numbing sense of loss is portrayed perfectly. Details are carefully preserved here, both in the fictional diary and in the fantastic timeline presented in the epilogue. Prior to the disaster, the narrator is wry and witty and, in fact, is easily my favorite Dear America heroine. The British perspective on American customs is also very interesting and an unexpected bonus from a Dear America book.
Be aware that the book accurately portrays that many (indeed, most) of the passengers and crew on the Titanic went down with the ship and died. Movingly, the crew is shown as being fully aware of their fate and quietly accepting the inevitable. Frighteningly, Margaret is made very aware that the poorer passengers on the ship (passengers which she could easily have joined, in other circumstances, due to her own poverty) have no access to the lifeboats and drown tragically. While none of this is surprising when considering a novel on the Titanic, it should be noted that the scene is portrayed very poignantly and may not be acceptable for all children.
~ Ana Mardoll
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