CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 23. . . .February 18, 2011
Into the Mist: The Story of the Empress of Ireland.
Toronto, ON: Dundurn, 2010.
106 pp., pbk., $14.99.
Empress of Ireland (Steamship)-Juvenile literature.
Shipwrecks-Quebec (Province)-Saint Lawrence River Estuary-Juvenile literature.
Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.
Review by Wendy Williams.
This is the story of the Empress of Ireland, the huge ocean liner, of the many people who walked her decks, and how, in the early hours of May 29, 1914, she came to rest on the bottom of the St. Lawrence River.
Kids and students love shipwrecks, and this wreck, although not as celebrated as that of the Titantic, is also fascinating. The facts are told simply and directly, with no drama or particular flair. The Empress of Ireland and the Storstad collided in thick fog in the St. Lawrence, and the Empress sank within 14 minutes with the loss of over 1,000 lives.
The short biographies of passengers and crew are interesting, as are the pictures of artefacts pulled up from the bottom of the river. The book is a nice size, and the print is clear and of good quality. I do have a problem with the narrative as I found the dramatic events somewhat broken up by time capsules just as the description of the sinking was taking place. But perhaps the main drawbacks to this book are the black and white illustrations. Obviously, the contemporary photos were in black and white, but the overall impression of the book is quite dark and negative. Because Into the Mist is competing with the many colourful accounts of the Titantic, this useful account needed to be given a more exciting and visually appealing appearance.
Into the Mist would perhaps appeal more to boys than girls, although the lack of a movie tie-in and the lack of colour might make this a hard sell.
Wendy Williams is a teacher-librarian in Calgary, AB, where, every week, she loans out many books on the Titantic.
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