Call of the Titanic by Lindsay Galvin – at a glance
The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Heroes, fictionalised history, trust, fantasy.
Children’s book title: Call of the Titanic.
Children’s author: Lindsay Galvin.
Genre: Historical fiction, fantasy.
Published by: Chicken House.
Recommended for children aged: 9+ year-olds.
First published: Paperback June 2023.
This children’s book is ideal for: cross-curricular activities abound as historical facts about the Titanic are merged with both fictional and fantasy elements.
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Clara Scott is very excited! Her cousin, Harold Cottam, is coming for a short visit and she’ll get to hear all about his latest adventures as the telegraph operator aboard the RMS Carpathia. Unfortunately, living on the family ranch means there are chores to be done first and when the wilful twelve-year-old doesn’t follow instructions the whole visit is spoiled.
Feeling very hard done by, Clara’s actions inadvertently set in motion a series of events culminating in her stowing away aboard Harold’s ship with no one knowing where she is. With a large, shaggy, and lovable companion called Rigel, Clara finds herself in the middle of the mission to rescue survivors from the doomed maiden voyage of the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic.
With Rigel having an unlimited amount of trust in Clara and the ability to sense when his help is needed the two of them are soon assisting those whose needs are greatest even when their own safety can’t be guaranteed. However, they aren’t alone, and the extra help they need comes in the most amazing ways.
This is a great mix of factual and fictional with a mythological twist in the tail. The story of Clara runs alongside a fictionalised account of Sid Daniels, an actual steward aboard the Titanic, and his deposition to the United States Senate Enquiry which is inserted throughout.
The parts of the story aboard the Carpathia, reduce the tension, at least initially, and are written in the first person through Clara’s eyes. She is a fun main protagonist and fits in well with both actual and imagined passengers and crew. Sid Daniels’ part in the story is changed but the most important historical aspects remain. He is depicted as being much younger than his eighteen years, as some of the crew were, with his rescue a far more exciting affair than its factual counterpart and those of others detailed earlier in the book.
The actual demise of the Titanic is reported in just enough detail not to scare younger readers while still leaving no doubt as to how catastrophic and initially unbelievable the whole event was. Well-known facts are interspersed with the lesser appreciated details to give a good understanding of what really happened alongside what could have been.
It is also worth mentioning that Rigel, the huge Newfoundland hound, based on a fictional newspaper article from 1912, survives this story.
- Read a free extract
Many thanks to Chicken House for the review copy.
If you like Call of the Titanic by Lindsay Galvin you might also like: our reviews of The Week at World’s End by Emma Carroll, Antigua de Fortune of the High Seas by Anna Rainbow and Oli Hyatt, Our Beautiful Game by Lou Kuenzler, The Accidental Stowaway by Judith Eagle and Darwin’s Dragons by Lindsay Galvin.
Browse our list of books for year six.