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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


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Historical Novel Society

Collision Course - Gordon Korman So many books have been written about Titanic, I would have a difficult time recommending this one. I almost gave it 2 stars but I did get through it and the action is quick paced, so I decided to be generous.

This installment tells the story of Titanic's days at sea up to the collision with the iceberg. Since these books are 5th grade level, I question why they were even issued as three separate books that can be read in under 2 hours each rather than making them one more substantial novel. I guess it's so they could have their lovely covers - it really is the most impressive thing about them.

I found Paddy's character less and less interesting and not one that inspired my sympathy as he adds to his list of illegal activities in this book. Alfie is less of a rascal but not really more interesting, and I had a hard time even keeping the girls straight. This book needed someone for me to care about other than the famous real people who I already knew were going to die.

If I remind myself that Korman is writing to 4-6th graders, I will give him credit for adding some historical content for the kids: women's rights, pre-income tax ultra rich, and Jack the Ripper. This last was a little bit of an odd addition and led to very un-childlike quotes like, "And I'll be waiting for you in hell!" Not a line I really would expect in a book for 10 year olds.

For kids who need constant action but not character development, this book may be an acceptable choice. (Though they may be annoyed by the story not really reaching any conclusion until the end of the third book.) They also may get lost in the nautical lingo that is used without including any type of glossary. Of course, there are those kids who just love to read about Titanic. If that's they case, by all means, read away.