Tragedy at Sea – The Sinking of the Titanic by David Long illustrated by Stefan Tambellini

The Titanic has been the subject of numerous books, TV and film productions over the years, many of them concentrating on the human tragedy itself. Award winning children’s non-fiction writer David Long has taken a subtly different look at this famous story and this book is packed full of astounding facts and details. Supported by informative black and white illustrations by Stefan Tambellini this is a must have book for school libraries and classrooms.

Inevitably it is the scale of the human tragedy which has resulted in the Titanic disaster having a lasting impact on the public for over one hundred years. David Long’s retelling begins before the event and includes the creation of this famous ship and tells the story of the people involved in the building of it and the preparation for the maiden voyage. The book opens with a double page illustration of the Titanic by Stefan Tambellini detailing the different parts of the ship and their uses providing a helpful image to refer to throughout the book. Long describes trans-Atlantic travel at that time and sets the scene with details of the competing companies involved and the expectations of travellers. The design and creation of the ship itself is fascinating and includes plentiful detail and interesting facts. As an adult I found this interesting and the accessible manner in which it is presented makes this a riveting and engaging read for children. Everything from the fixtures and fittings of the luxury cabins to the radio equipment, from the number of crew, (883!) to the real palm trees in one of the cafes is covered. This attention to detail is supported by the helpful illustrations, including maps and a cross section of the ship, which all add to the reader’s understanding and appreciation.

The story builds to the sinking itself and describes the reasons for the disaster and the events which followed. David Long presents this without melodrama but with a well researched and careful presentation of the facts. Although an excellent read for children I think this would also be a helpful guide for time pressed teachers who want to quickly access reliable information.

David Long has succeeded in presenting the story of the Titanic, including an impressive amount of detailed information, in an accessible and highly readable style within eighty pages. This little book is big on detail and history and will be useful to children and teachers. If you want to find out more Barrington Stoke have created this taster of the first chapter below.

I should like to thank Kirstin Lamb and the publishers Barrington Stoke for providing my review copy. Tragedy at Sea – The Sinking of the Titanic was published on 1st April and is available to purchase on the publishers’ website.

A few years ago I visited the Titanic exhibition at Liverpool Maritime Museum and found it moving and informative. There is a comprehensive teaching resource pack available to download free from their official website which would work well in conjunction with this book.

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4 Responses to Tragedy at Sea – The Sinking of the Titanic by David Long illustrated by Stefan Tambellini

  1. Calmgrove says:

    The Barrington Stoke preview was helpful and confirmed everything you said in the review. As Welsh libraries are open this week I may recommend this for acquisition at our local branch.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. setinthepast says:

    We used to sing a song about the Titanic in primary school music lessons. “Oh they built the ship Titanic, to sail the ocean blue …” – now I think about it, how weird to get a load of little kids singing a song about a disaster which killed over 1,000 people!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. alibrarylady says:

    I’ve never heard of the song before and agree it’s an odd subject to encourage children to sing about. Mind you I’m not a fan of the Celina Dion Titanic theme song either which others love so maybe I’m not a good judge!

    Like

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