Pig on the Titanic: A True Story

Overview

A pig on a passenger liner?
Impossible!
No! No! It's me ...
Maxixe, the music box pig!

Everyone knows the story of the night the great ship Titanic sank. But few know the story of Maxixe, one of the unsung heroes of that night, and how this small musical pig soothed the fears of a lifeboat full of children. Based on true events, this ...

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Overview

A pig on a passenger liner?
Impossible!
No! No! It's me ...
Maxixe, the music box pig!

Everyone knows the story of the night the great ship Titanic sank. But few know the story of Maxixe, one of the unsung heroes of that night, and how this small musical pig soothed the fears of a lifeboat full of children. Based on true events, this dramatic story by author Gary Crew is told through the charming and compassionate voice of Maxixe, and is brought to life by the stunning artwork of illustrator Bruce Whatley.

On the disastrous night when the ocean liner Titanic sinks, the sounds of a pig-shaped music box cheer children escaping in a lifeboat.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Australian author Crew's (The Watertower) dramatization of an episode that actually took place will delight readers who do not know that a small stuffed animal cheered children in one of the Titanic's lifeboats. Edith Rosenbaum, a "famous fashion buyer" headed back from Paris on the great ship, was given a wind-up pig as a "good-luck charm" by her mother. The white perky-eared pig, named Maxixe after the dance melody she plays, narrates the story in a bubbly music-hall voice: "Me... Maxixe, the musical French pig. Oui, oui! Oink, oink!" Whatley (The Teddy Bears' Picnic) supplies scrupulously drafted spreads, with detailed portraits of Rosenbaum and the other passengers, and even a large, cutaway view of the ship. He lavishes attention on every inch of the scenes, from the ship's wallpaper to the type on the pier's signs. After the collision with the iceberg, Edith ends up in a lifeboat with children stunned by the disaster, and thinks of a way to cheer them: "Can you still play your song?," she asks her good-luck charm. "Oui, oui! It's me, Maxixe. Of course I can play!" Aboard a rescue ship at last, the children cry, "Maxixe, you are a hero!" While the backstory of the loss of the ship may overwhelm especially sensitive readers, families and classrooms familiar with the Titanic's story will be thrilled to find a book that tells the tale from a childlike perspective. Ages 5-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
In the wake of the surge in popularity of anything dealing with the Titanic's history, comes this interesting nonfiction picture book about a music-box pig named Maxixe. The French pig was given to Edith Rosenbaum for good luck on her voyage on the Titanic passenger liner. Unbeknownst to her, she finds out that the musical toy pig is the saving grace for the children on a lifeboat after the ship strikes the iceberg. The precious pig plays a melody after its tail is wound. The sounds soothe and comfort those aboard the lifeboat. The author does a splendid job in unraveling events by having the toy pig narrate the tale. Young readers will want to believe Maxixe is not a toy but a living being through this narration of actual events. The illustrations are subtle and realistic. This fairly unknown, but true, account will be a real treat for readers. 2005, HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 5 up.
—Rosa Roberts
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-According to the author's note, this this story is based on a true incident. Edith Rosenbaum, a prominent fashion designer of the day, is sailing on the Titanic, accompanied by a music-box pig given to her by her mother as a good-luck charm. As the pig explains, after the collision with the iceberg, Edith wants to let someone else take her place in the lifeboat, but a sailor, mistaking the pig in her arms for a baby, grabs it and throws it into a lifeboat and Edith follows. Throughout the long cold hours until rescue, Maxixe plays his little tune over and over, buoying the spirits of the children onboard. Crew's text deftly captures the drama of that night, while Whatley's realistic watercolors showcase the grandeur and opulence of the doomed ship as well as the frenetic activity as it was abandoned. The subject of the Titanic is of perennial interest to children, and this well-told slice of life, with its emphasis on a single compassionate act, should prove popular.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Not a living pig, but a musical toy carried on board by a passenger, Maxixe (pronounced "Mash-eesh," though readers are left to look that up for themselves) describes how its simple dance tune helped to keep up the spirits of a lifeboat full of children through that tragic "night to remember." In Whatley's crisply detailed reconstructions, the smiling white piglet seems to glow in its owner's arms as it's carried through Titanic's palatial rooms, past elegantly dressed passengers, and then into a boat crowded with fearful-looking children. Rescue comes at last, and Maxixe's narrative ends amid smiles of relief. Capped by a closing note and a later photo of the pig, and owner Edith Rosenbaum, this, like Daisy Spedden's more detailed Polar the Titanic Bear (1996), lends the historical catastrophe immediacy for younger audiences while downplaying its horrific aspects. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060523053
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/15/2005
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.36 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Crew is the author of many books for children and young adults, including First Fight and The Watertower, both of which were named Children's Book Council of Australia Books of the Year for Children's Illustrated Books. This is Mr. Crew's first book for HarperCollins. He resides in Queensland, Australia.

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