________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 17. . . .January 4, 2013


Titanic. (Crabtree Chrome).

Robin Johnson.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2013.
48 pp., pbk. & hc., $11.95 (pbk.), $21.56 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-7938-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-7929-2 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Titanic (Steamship)-Juvenile literature.
Shipwrecks-North Atlantic Ocean-Juvenile literature.

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review by Gillian Green.

*** /4



The Titanic was ready to sail for New York on April 10, 1912. It was the great ship’s maiden voyage. Excitement was in the air. Crowds came to watch the lucky men, women and children board the Titanic for its first trip.

The ship’s band played lively music to welcome passengers. People waved and threw flowers as the ship began to sail. The sky was clear and the waters were calm. It was going to be a good trip.

Maiden voyage: a ship’s first trip.


Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, “Crabtree Chrome”’s Titanic is one of numerous books which have recently been published on the topic. This book, by Robin Johnson, serves as an encompassing introduction to the history of this “unsinkable ship” from its construction and anticipation, to the sinking and its eventual rediscovery.

     Crabtree Publishing Company has developed the “Crabtree Chrome” series specifically for “reluctant, under confident readers who read several levels below their actual grade. This series helps struggling readers build background knowledge, vocabulary and experience reading success through highly engaged and timely topics”. Johnson’s Titanic does just that by presenting this historical information in an engaging and succinct manner that would be appealing to a struggling reader.

     The book is organized chronologically and divided into six sections. Section titles include “The Ship of Dreams”, “Iceberg!”, and “The Titanic Sinks”. The content is a cross section of information with an emphasis on the people involved. Descriptions of how the crew and each class lived on board, what they ate, and what they did for leisure are outlined. Contemporary passenger and worldwide reactions to the sinking and survival stories are included. However, because only two pages are reserved for searching for and finding the Titanic, if interested, a reader would have to go elsewhere for that information.

     Each section provides information through short text blurbs, maps, artifacts, such as menus, and passenger recollections. Every page has a large illustration or black and white photograph. Also included is a table of contents, a glossary of terms and an index. A “Learning More” page offers a collection of resources, including books, websites and movies. This list includes resources at a higher reading level, for example, books such as Eyewitness Books: Titanic by Simon Adams and Magic Tree House Research Guide: Titanic by Mary Pope Osborne and Will Osborne.

     Content is presented in short sentences and basic language in an easy to understand format that does not patronize the reader. The author’s use of bold fonts, which are used to define “problem” words at the bottom of the same page, is helpful. The engaging way that this material is presented, developed, and used as a spring board to further reading and study makes Titanic a solid recommendation for older readers who are struggling readers; however, Titanic would also be appropriate for a younger audience with an interest in this event.


Gillian Green is a Children’s Reference Librarian in Woodstock, ON.

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

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