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Return to Titanic: Time Voyage by S. Brezenoff

Brezenoff, Steve. Return to Titanic: Time Voyage. Illus. Scott Murphy. North Mankato, MN: Stone Arch Books, 2012. Print.   

The legendary Titanic resurfaces for this children’s novel which cleverly combines history with science fiction.  The subject of the Titanic voyage is timely, since it is recently the 100th anniversary of its maiden voyage. Tucker and Maya spend their spring break helping out at a museum and as they sort through a box labeled “special collection” for the Titanic exhibit, they find an original ticket to the maiden voyage of the Titanic.  Their curiosity provokes them to open its protective case.  Once they touch the ticket, they are sent back in time to Queenstown, Ireland in 1912, the day the Titanic was to set sail across the Atlantic Ocean.  Tucker’s mother, the museum’s curator, always said there was “magic in the junk at the museum”.  Tucker and Maya must decide what to do next.  Should they stop the Titanic from sailing?  Is it possible to change history?  They begin to wonder how will they ever return back to 2012?

Detailed pencil-sketch drawings by Scott Murphy decorate every few pages.  These illustrations enhance the description and imagery in the novel while supporting reluctant readers.  The shaded teal-coloured sketches assist with setting the tone of history, mystery, and adventure.  Inclusion of a map, at the beginning of each chapter, indicates the location of the characters at that moment in the novel, whether they were in Queenstown, Ireland or in New York.  To assist with these transitions, the change of time occurs at the start of a new chapter, as well as clear setting descriptions are included throughout, integral in showing the time and place.  These time transitions are smooth and easy to follow.  

Themes of friendship, curiosity, history, time-travel, adventure, and courage are intertwined.  Educators can integrate this novel into lessons about the Titanic's history.  Time Voyage is an exciting adventure story to accompany non-fiction titles.  It is interesting to note the correct historical references of location, dates, and the company that sailed the Titanic incorporated in this work of fiction. Time Voyage is the first novel in the Return to Titanic four book series, written by Steve Brezenoff.  

With easy vocabulary, great plot description, imagery, and consistent use of strong adjectives, this novel will captivate readers aged 9 to 13 years old, appealing to grade 2 to 3 reading levels.  The cliff-hanger at the end of the book will surely entice readers to continue reading this four book series.

Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Melissa Blackwood

Melissa Blackwood is a Primary/Elementary teacher, presently completing a Master of Education in Teacher-Librarianship with the University of Alberta.