Posted by: Jina Bacarr | February 7, 2012

Explore Titanic by Peter Chrisp


Titanic, ships and dreams, oh my! 

Explore Titanic is like opening the door to OZ on the high seas. With text by Peter Chrisp and illustrations by Somchith Vongprachanh, for the first time you can take a tour of the ship using the black and white images of Titanic we know so well and see them in color. 

And in 3-D.

Explore Titanic is a fascinating look at the ship of dreams that offers a different presentation than other books on the subject. Written as a “dramatic pictorial history” for young readers, the historical information presented is concise and includes well-researched facts that are interesting to read and arranged in an artistic design that stays true to the Edwardian era.

I was a lucky winner of Explore Titanic in a recent contest run by Erin Klein on her Kleinspiration blog. Click here to read all about Erin and her important work as an educator. As one of the three winners, I want to thank Eric at Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. for sending me a copy of the book.

Here are my thoughts:

The writer and researcher in me would like to have a table of contents that would make it easy to find specific information; there is a list of picture credits, but the book has no page numbers.

The Titanic enthusiast in me was like a kid with a box of Titanic chocolate bars—I couldn’t get enough (Yes, Virginia, there are Titanic Belgian chocolate bars from a company in the U.K.). I’d open a page and sit there fascinated by the pictures and info displayed in the book, then I inserted the CD and took a 3-D tour of the ship on my computer.

An illustration of the ship is your guide to the “360 tour.” I think it would add to the viewer’s enjoyment if the “360” icon lit up with the destination when you hover your mouse over it; I liked the idea of clicking on the White Star red flag to change your viewing position.

Navigating the controls can be dizzying if you lose control of your mouse and end up looking at the ceiling of the first class dining saloon like I did, but that is a minor point. The ride is worth it. Sit back and enjoy a stunning view of Titanic like you’re really there. 

I would have loved narration and music to accompany the 3-D tour. Voices of the Titanic—the captain, ship’s officers, designer, first class, second class and steerage passengers, stewards and stewardesses and crew. For my own enjoyment, I played my Back to the Titanic” album in the background. 

(Retail for Explore Titanic is $17.99 including the 3-D tour CD). 

On a personal note: I had so much fun “walking the decks” on the 3-D tour with my heroine, Katie O’Reilly, in Titanic Rhapsody and her handsome hero, Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn. I imagined them standing at the rail together…looking up at the starry night overhead. In the first class dining saloon…or admiring the Grand staircase. 

A grand adventure it is, as Katie would say.

Explore Titanic is a 32-page picture book filled with facts and beautiful pictures recreated with digital technology that transports you there. It’s recommended for grade level 4 and up. This is a book you can pick up again and again and discover something new each time. 

The dream plays on…


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