Illustrated by: Robert Papp
Published by: Sleeping Bear Press 2008
Ages: 6 and up
Theme: Instinct, superstition, heart
Opening Lines: Every time Jim glanced to the side, there was the cat, flashing the tip of her tortoiseshell tail at him, all the way to the shipyard. Some claimed a tortoiseshell cat could see the future. Jim, himself, believed only that cats were lucky. His Da worked in the Belfast shipyard, so Jim knew all the lore about ships and their cats.
Synopsis: from Amazon – Young Jim Mulholland can’t believe his good luck: He has signed on as a cabin boy to the world’s finest ocean liner, the Titanic, and can’t wait for the history-making voyage across the sea to America. As part of his duties Jim is in charge of the ship’s cat, a beautiful tortoiseshell that also appears happy to be on board. He calls the cat by the ship’s construction number, 4-0-1, certain that she will bring him good luck. And he’s delighted when 4-0-1 shortly gives birth to a litter of kittens. But once the ship’s trial runs are completed and it’s ready to launch to sea, Jim notices that 4-0-1 is nowhere to be found. He’s got to find her-the Titanic can’t cast off without her lucky cat. Jim is faced with a decision that will affect the rest of his life
Why I like this: I am totally surprised this one isn’t on the PPBF list. With such a rich story and out-of-this-world gorgeous illustrations and captive title, made this a must read for me. We all know the story of the famous maiden voyage that ended in disaster for the luxurious ship known as the Titanic. It was April 15, 1912 when it sank and there have been many unsolved mysteries that sank with her. With its discovery at the bottom of the ocean, stories have appeared giving insight into how people came to be on the ship, how lives were depicted back then, superstitions, miracles, and more mysteries about what happened having come to light. This story is one of them… An opening page spread introduces us to the Titanic, over page the story begins as above. Kids will love this heartfelt story, its history, and educational use. In the authors’ note we learn that there was a young Irishman who looked after the ships cat during its training run, and then decided to leave taking the cat and her kittens just before the ship set sail. The illustrations by Robert are soft and delicate with bright hues giving such depth and realism, that I just wanted to pick up a kitten and cuddle it.
Resources/Findings: This book is educational in itself with the authors footnote and has added links she used in her research. An award-winning author she has also written White Star a book about a dog on the Titanic, also interviewing the families of the Titanic survivors.
A PDF printout for teachers : http://museumvictoria.com.au/pages/15649/titanic_us-kit_student-activities.pdf
And another: http://www.theteachersguide.com/Titanic.html
Another teachers aid: http://heatherpearmansequencedocuments.blogspot.co.nz/p/reading-lesson-plans.html
Marty’s website: http://www.martycrisp.com/books.html
View some of Roberts’ beautiful artwork and go aww… like I did here… http://www.robertpapp.com/
I’m always pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view. So pop over and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors.