Australian author Crew's (The Watertower
) dramatization of an episode that actually took place will delight readers who do not know that a small stuffed animal cheered children in one of the Titanic
's lifeboats. Edith Rosenbaum, a "famous fashion buyer" headed back from Paris on the great ship, was given a wind-up pig as a "good-luck charm" by her mother. The white perky-eared pig, named Maxixe after the dance melody she plays, narrates the story in a bubbly music-hall voice: "Me... Maxixe, the musical French pig. Oui, oui! Oink, oink!
" Whatley (The Teddy Bears' Picnic
) supplies scrupulously drafted spreads, with detailed portraits of Rosenbaum and the other passengers, and even a large, cutaway view of the ship. He lavishes attention on every inch of the scenes, from the ship's wallpaper to the type on the pier's signs. After the collision with the iceberg, Edith ends up in a lifeboat with children stunned by the disaster, and thinks of a way to cheer them: "Can you still play your song?," she asks her good-luck charm. "Oui, oui!
It's me, Maxixe. Of course I can play!" Aboard a rescue ship at last, the children cry, "Maxixe, you are a hero!" While the backstory of the loss of the ship may overwhelm especially sensitive readers, families and classrooms familiar with the Titanic'
s story will be thrilled to find a book that tells the tale from a childlike perspective. Ages 5-up. (Mar.)