cover image WHITE STAR: A Dog on the Titanic

WHITE STAR: A Dog on the Titanic

Marty Crisp, . . Holiday, $16.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1598-4

Crisp meshes real and fictional figures in this middling tale centering on two survivors of the Titanic shipwreck: a 12-year-old boy and the dog belonging to the head of the White Star Line, owner of the doomed liner. When he spies the Irish setter boarding the ship with his master, Sam feels an immediate attachment to the beautiful dog, since he strongly resembles that owned by the boy's father, who died six years earlier. Sam's mother then gave the dog away—and sent her son to stay with his grandparents in England. Now Sam, reluctantly returning to America to live with his mother and new stepfather, finds comfort in the company of the setter—which he calls Star—and delights in helping the cabin boy in charge of the kennel care for him. As the days count down to disaster, Sam crosses paths with other canine passengers and their owners and spends time with his best friend, a likable, happy-go-lucky lad who, a bit too coincidentally, is crossing the Atlantic on the same ship and, a bit too predictably, is not among the survivors. Readers will obviously be pulling for Sam and Star when the two leap overboard as the Titanic begins to sink: Star—again, not surprisingly—buoys up the boy, and the two are rescued by a lifeboat. The characterization, plot and dialogue do not always ring true, but the novel's inherently gripping historical underpinnings, clearly well researched by Crisp, keep the story afloat. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)