Titanic: Death on the Water (National Archives) Paperback – 29 Mar 2012
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About the Author
Tony Bradman is an award-winning author who has been involved in children's books for 35 years. He has written for all ages - poetry, picture books, young fiction, novels - and for many reading schemes. Tony has edited many anthologies of poetry and short stories, has been a judge on several major book prizes, and is a regular reviewer of children's and young adult fiction for The Guardian books pages. Tony has three children, three grandchildren, and lives in London with his wife and Betty the Border Terrier - which makes him the third most important person in the house.
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Very well written and looks past all the bluff and buster of the folklore and Hollywood movies. Tells a very moving story and really connects with the reader.
Billy, the lead character, is obviously meant to be viewed as a hero in young boys eyes, through his escapades as a bellboy. I would have liked to have learned more about the role of bellboy - I did feel that the authors skimmed over this. But then I suppose that's the problem when you read a child's book!
This book is aimed more at boys, rather than girls, but I do think it can be read by both. The majority of the book is specifically targeted for the younger male audience, although reading it with the memory of being a young girl (!) I did find myself enjoying it also.
I think this is the kind of book that if you are interested in anything about the Titanic (like me) then you will enjoy reading this to your own children. It's a great way for you and your children to bond, as well as learn at the same time. I don't have any children, but it's definitely something I could see myself reading in the future, along with Titanic - An Edwardian Girl's Diary 1912 (My Story) (which is aimed more at the female audience.)
Reading it by myself, took less than two hours (with interruptions), so it's a very quick and easy read. Definitely a good adventure story, with a couple of nice cliffhangers thrown in to really keep you reading.
But then Billy finds himself with a job there...something he fought hard against. Billy and his Da are hard at work on the newest ship being built in their yard. The Titanic.
Billy's fear of the shipyard is amplified when his Da falls to this death from the side of the enormous liner. But an idea occurs to him. Maybe he could get a job on board it...
The sinking of the Titanic is something almost everybody has heard about, seen films about, or read books about at some time or another. Titanic, Death on the Water is one of the first I've read that is totally accessible for children. Billy is a charming character, hard working and likeable. As he scurries about his duties on the ship, we are taken back in time and shown for ourselves how opulent and grand the ship truly was.
Billy is around for key moments that lead to the demise of the Titanic. We are introduced to Mr Ismay, Mr Andrews and Captain Smith, just a handful of men who were greatly involved with the ship.
The reader isn't hit over the head with details and minute facts that weigh down the story. Billy explains to us easily what it was like and the heroic lengths people go to save another person. This book sent shivers down my spine and was so well written I felt the water lapping at my feet.
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I can honestly say that in all the books I've read I have never read a fictional account of the tragedy and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it.
Billy is fourteen and through the encouragement of his father becomes an apprentice in ship building working alongside his father in the construction of the biggest ship the world has ever known the Titanic.
Tragically Billy father is killed while building the ship and he is now the man of the house supporting his mother and sisters, but Billy is scared and he doesn't want to help build the ship anymore instead he hears that they are hiring people to work on the ship when she sets sail so Billy goes for an interview and gets a job as a bellboy.
Straight away he gets off on the wrong foot with a fellow bellboy George and it doesn't help that he's favoured by the Mr McElroy the Purser who's job it is to keep them in line or that he becomes Bruce Ismay's personal help.
He becomes friends with a Polish woman and her three children especially the youngest Anya who has a habit of running away and hiding in the ship and Billy is the one that always finds her, then after the ship has hit the iceberg he finds out that Anya is missing again and the ship has started flooding, can he find her in time? and if so will he survive?.
Of course we all know how this ends and I love the way that the facts that are known of that fateful night are woven through this fictional story that seems like Billy actually was there relating the story of that night.
A haunting and adventurous tale that's based in fact of the biggest and most famous shipwreck in history, a tragedy that fascinates people to this day.