Reviews for Titanic Sinks! : Experience the Titanic's Doomed Voyage in This Unique Presentation of Fact and Fiction
Booklist Reviews 2011 October #2
*Starred Review* Like the author's celebrated Lincoln Shot! A President's Life Remembered (2008) this fact-fiction hybrid invents a newspaper (here called Modern Times) and proceeds as if the book is a special edition collecting the paper's coverage of the construction, launch, and sinking of the Titanic. Purists may balk, but the format provides excellent cover for Denenberg to relay reams of factual information, from the fascination surrounding the ship's construction ("14,000 TO BUILD BEHEMOTHS," the headline shouts) to personality profiles to firsthand reports from survivors. The centerpiece is a fictional yet accurate manuscript written by Times reporter S. F. Vanni, who typed even as the ship was sinking, and then lashed the manuscript to his body before he died at sea. No, not every conceit is plausible, but it's certainly rousing and plenty eerie. The larger-than-usual format allows for readers to be awed by the same thing that awed onlookers in 1912: the gigantic size of everything--the swooping staircases, the dining room, the warehouses where they built the engines. The photos are breathtaking (a picture of the iceberg induces shivers), and full-color inserts reproduce menus, orchestra schedules, and more. Readers ready for a deeper fictional component need look no further than Allan Wolf's The Watch That Ends the Night (2011). Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Denenberg's handsome volume is formatted to look like a commemorative newspaper. Background information about the ship reads like a travel brochure, emphasizing the Titanic's size and grandeur. The text's faux journalistic account gives readers a you-are-there sense while an "RMS Titanic Hour by Hour" timeline clarifies events. The volume is generously illustrated with archival photographs and appended with source notes. Bib.
Kirkus Reviews 2011 October #2
A memorial edition of an imagined magazine covers the construction and fateful voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic, Queen of the Ocean, which sank in April 1912. As in Lincoln Shot! (2008), the design alludes to the historical period, here using the dimensions and sepia tones of an old-time newspaper supplement. Visually dramatic pages are filled with photos and memorabilia as well as eyewitness accounts that add to the "You are there" effect. The first third of Denenberg's narrative consists of articles purportedly published between 1903 and 1912, the second is the unfinished (and miraculously recovered) journal of the magazine's correspondent. The final section includes a chronology of the ship's final hours, statements from survivors and an interview with the captain of the rescue ship, all based on actual testimony. A "note from the publisher" closes the narrative with a short round-up of what followed. This is a story of heroism as well as personal and corporate greed, issues that still resonate today. The text is lively, compelling and convincing, but written to answer 21st-century readers' questions. Because readers know the outcome, many of the chosen quotations sound ironic, especially cheerful reiterations that the ship is unsinkable. This is history at its best, an original and appealing way to mark the centennial of this familiar disaster. (author's note, source notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction.10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 October #3
In a closing note, Denenberg writes that his goal is "to make history come alive, to create a sense of being there." He succeeds entirely in this gripping recounting of the Titanic's doomed maiden voyage, chronicled in the tabloid-style pages of a fictional magazine, riffing on the format he used in Lincoln Shot! (2008). Melding fact and fiction, the book compiles dramatic headlines, articles that range from news bulletins about the building of the ship to a chatty tour of its lavish interior, and an array of stunning period photographs. At its core is the journal of the magazine's chief correspondent, a passenger who describes his peers' onboard pastimes and shares some eerie premonitions (sure that his ship is unsinkable, the captain cancels a lifeboat drill) before delving into a harrowing minute-by-minute report on the ship's sinking, which ends mid-word. The most chilling section collects actual survivors' recollections of their experiences in the lifeboats. Published in advance of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking, it's a polished and engaging account of one of the 20th century's most infamous disasters. Ages 10-up. (Nov.)¦ [Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews 2011 November
Gr 3-8--Using the form of a fictional magazine from the early part of the 20th century, Denenberg brings the story of the Titanic to life in a way that is both informative and accessible. From its earliest inception, shipping line White Star's plan was to compete in the transatlantic travel business with the German company Cunard, not in speed but in luxury accommodations. In this they succeeded, building three ships nearly simultaneously that were the biggest ever seen, and easily the most elegant, becoming the very definition of luxury transport. Headlined articles provide information about the construction of Titanic, as well as the various features that set the ship apart from other ocean liners. The events surrounding its collision with an iceberg and sinking are shared through the "journals" of a fictional reporter aboard the vessel, though actual details are based on established fact. Period photographs and key players such as Captain Smith, White Star Chairman Bruce Ismay, and others perfectly complement the magazine format and draw readers into the story and the period. Readers with little more than a passing knowledge of the Titanic will find this an excellent introduction to the topic, and those possessing more facts will find plenty of meat in the details to keep them engaged. Librarians looking to update their collections on Titanic as the 100th anniversary approaches will find this to be an interesting and unique addition---Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA [Page 146]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.