Title: Tragedy at Sea
Author: David Long
Illustrator: Stefano Tambellini
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Genre: Older childrens/middle grade non-fiction, History
Book format: Paperback
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Description:  On 10 April 1912, RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton on her maiden voyage to New York. This “Ship of Dreams” was the largest and most luxurious ocean liner in the world. It was claimed she was unsinkable. But four days later, when the ship struck an iceberg, the loss of Titanic and over 1,500 passengers would become one of the most infamous maritime disasters in history.
In this fact-filled retelling of its construction and doomed maiden voyage, David Long brings Titanic’s tragic tale to life.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Rreview:  This is such an interesting book with some great illustrations and contains so much I never knew about the Titanic! ‘Tragedy at Sea’ shows the story of the Titanic, from before its creation, through to construction and the unfortunate tragedy of it being lost at sea. The book is filled with some brilliant illustrations, diagrams and text.

Tragedy at Sea book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

I’ve always loved non-fiction books, especialy ones that focus on history, but I especially loved this one as it felt almost fiction-like withthe way things happen and are explained, with the lead up to the titanic’s building, floating and maiden voyage and then its tragic end. The book begins by explaining how there was a focus in the early 1900s to create faster and faster ships wit hdifferent companies trying to out do each other, but when the idea for the Titanic and its sister ships came about, the man who wanted to build them didn’t want to create the fastest ship but the biggest luxury liner instead. There are chapters focusing on the different things that happened from the idea of the Titanic through to what happened after it sank. I loved this introduction to the world of early 20th century ship building and how difficult it was to create something so big at the time.

As you read through the chapters you get an idea of what a feat building the titanic really was. At the time, to create such a huge ship needed a lot of things in place in the shipyard and there are some interesting facts about how the ship was built with the idea safety in mind, and the plan that the ship would be unsinkable. I loved finding out about the construction and there’s an interesting diagram in the book, across two pages, showing the different areas of the ship and where everything was including where the different classes would sleep and spend their time.

The book does detail some interesting facts, along with some more great illustrations, showing just how different life was for the different classes aboard the ship and I found it fascinating to read about all the luxuries that were on board the Titanic for the most wealthy of passengers. What’s interesting about this book is how it also shows you the lengths that the ship builders went to create what they thought was a safer ship, one that wouldn’t easily get damaged and sink. I didn’t know anything about this or how certain things weren’t included or were not done properly on board the ship, which led to tragedy in the end, and so it was very interesting to read all about this in the book.

The book also shows the tragic end of the Titanic and explains why it was such a tragedy and some of the horrible things that happened when it hit the iceberg. I’m one of the few people who hasn’t seen the 90s film in full, and hadn’t read much more about the Titanic beyond the most well-known of facts before reading this book, and so it was good to get an understanding of what really happened with the Titanic and its passengers and it was also very interesting to see how its ultimate tragedy helped improve things for future shipping too.

The illustrations are brilliant. They are all in black, white and grey but show what is happening well. I like the style of illustrations as they uite simple but detailed enough to show the realities of life on board the ship for the different passenger classes, and you can see some of the expressions on characters faces when different things are happening. The illustrations also show well what the Titanic looked like inside and I really enjoyed the four images towards the end that showed exactly how the titanic sank, it gives a really good explanation, along with the text, making you understand just how scary and horrible and end it was. The illustrations appear throughout the book and make the book easier to read.

Tragedy at Sea book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

This really is a great book and it’s one I’d recommend. As a child I would spend ages reading non-fiction books like this one which show history in an easy to understand way, with lots of great illustrations along the way. The story of the Titanic is one that is so tragic but fascinating too, and along with the illustrations and the the easy to read text which has a special dyslexia-friendly font, and the slightly yellower coloured thicker pages (which make for easier reading), it makes this book an excellent one for everyone to read, especially dyslexics and reluctant readers. It’s a book I’d really recommend to everyone, and it’s one I’m sure many children, and even some adults, will want to look back at again and again. 🙂

What do you think of this book?  Do you like non-fiction books about history?  Are you interested in the history of the titanic?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂