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I Was There: On Board the Titanic

I Was There: On Board the Titanic

by Shelley Tanaka, Ken Marschall (Illustrator)
The story of the Titanic told through the eyes of two young survivors. Full-color illustrations with detailed diagrams and rare photographs convey a wealth of information to complement this gripping true story.


The story of the Titanic told through the eyes of two young survivors. Full-color illustrations with detailed diagrams and rare photographs convey a wealth of information to complement this gripping true story.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Specific situations can make community of different people as seen in Tanaka's story of the Titanic. It's told from the perspective of seventeen-year-old Jack Thayer a passenger and Harold Bride, one of of the ships radio operators. Paintings and photographs really do transport readers back to 1912.
Children's Literature - C. Dennete Michaels
Harold Bride is a youthful wireless assistant and Jack Thayer, just seventeen, is a First Class passenger traveling with his parents. Fate put them together on the Titanic and then on an overturned collapsible lifeboat after a last minute plunge into icy darkness. The vibrancy of Marshall's oil paintings combined with photographs and diagrams provide a satisfying visual text. The storytelling at times makes it difficult to keep the tales of the two young survivors separate. A chronology at the beginning of each chapter helps fix story segments. The chief wireless operator, Jack Phillips, who perished with the ship, is showcased in a coda describing "a special memorial to him..(in) a country church...near Phillip's birthplace...it is a good place for thinking about the many brave people who were there on the night the Titanic went down." Tanaka's text addresses issues that contributed to the disaster such as poor seamanship and corporate and community policy decisions adequately enough to answer most questions likely to be raised by the target audience. There is a helpful bibliography and a short glossary.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5This 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, OR
Kirkus Reviews
In this work subtitled "What It Was Like When the Great Liner Sank," the powerful, detailed, and realistic paintings by Marschall will enthrall readers and draw them into the mystery of the famous ocean liner's fate. In this I Was There book, Tanaka (The Disaster of the Hindenburg, 1993, not reviewed, etc.) tells the story from the point of view of two young men aboard the Titanic: Jack Thayer, a wealthy 17-year-old, and Harold Bride, a junior wireless operator. The details are many and interesting: the historic photos; the accurate drawing of a cross-section of the ship; an explanation of Morse code; a discussion of the number of lifeboats aboard; a diagram of who died and who was saved (the greatest number of those who drowned were third-class passengers and crew members); the number of dogs that survived (2). The book will more than satisfy those for whom this voyage is an apparently unlimited source of fascination.

Product Details

Publication date:
I Was There Series
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
9 - 11 Years

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