________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 39. . . .June 10, 2011.


Titanic: Book One: Unsinkable.

Gordon Korman.
New York, NY: Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2011.
170 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 978-0-545-12331-0.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.


Reviewed from Uncorrected Proof.




Alfie was chagrined. “It’s I who should apologize. I chased your friend away. I’m most dreadfully sorry.”

Sophie passed this off with a wave of her hand. “I don’t want conversation. I don’t want to read a book. I just wish something would happen.”
“Alfie blinked. “We’re on a ship in the midst of an ocean crossing, miss. What could possibly happen?”
“Something that would take my mind off the fact that my mother is picking fights with the most important people alive.” She scowled. “And what that might be, I have absolutely no idea.”

Alfie raised an eyebrow. “What is I told you there’s something on this ship that would turn your mind upside down and inside out?”

“What?” asked Sophie, intrigued.

“I can’t explain. I have to show you. Tonight”

Unsinkable is the first of three books in Korman’s new “Titanic” series. Book one is about the unlikely friendships that form during the maiden voyage of the Titanic. Paddy Burns is a 14-year-old pickpocket living in Belfast. He is a stowaway on the Titanic, but he needs to find a way to bring important diagrams to Mr. Thomas Andrews, the designer of the Titanic. His best friend, Daniel Sullivan, should be on the ship with him, but, because of a mix-up they had with gangsters, Daniel is believed to be dead. Alfie Huggins is feeling alone and worried since his mom deserted him. He lies about his age so he can work on the Titanic with his dad. Sophie Bronson and her mom end up boarding the Titanic escorted by the police because of the commotion they caused at a suffrage rally, and 15-year-old Juliana Glamm and her dad, the seventeenth Earl of Glamford, will be departing the Titanic in New York to attend a business meeting. She could be mistaken for a snob, but she befriends Sophie because of something they have in common; they both have to travel with parents who embarrass them. As Paddy, Alfie, Juliana and Sophie get to know each other, they share secrets and take risks for one another. Their story is told in alternating voices, but readers see many different areas of the ship through Alfie’s eyes. Facts about the Titanic and the time period (clothing styles, vocabulary) add to the readers’ understanding of the year 1912, and a subplot involving Jack the Ripper adds tension and mystery to life onboard the ship. The main characters in this story are well-developed and interesting, and Korman uses foreshadowing effectively throughout the story to hint at the disaster that is about to come. Book One begins a few weeks before the Titanic strikes an iceberg, and it ends on April 12, 4:35 p.m. after the Captain puts in his pocket an unread message that warns of ice ahead. This story will appeal to boys and girls who gravitate towards historical fiction or adventure stories.

Highly Recommended.

Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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