biography

Book Review: Eva and Little Kitty on the Titanic

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Eva and Little Kitty on the Titanic 

Written and Illustrated by Sidsel Carnahan 
Published April 23, 2012 (Presently, only available in digital format.)
Genre/Topics: Realistic Fiction, Titanic, Biography
Ages: 6-8
Pages: (I read this book on a pdf document which was 25 pages.)  
 

This is the partial true story of a Titanic survivor, Eva Hart. Eva is only seven years old when she boards the grand ship, Titanic, with her mother and father from England. Her father is very excited about their journey to America on the Titanic whereas her mother is unsure and believes something bad may happen. Eva asks if she can bring her Kitty on the ship, but is told no. However, this doesn’t stop Eva from hiding Kitty and secretly bringing the cat with her. Eva meets two young boys and she shows Little Kitty. She’s puzzled what to do about Little Kitty at night, because her mother is so worried she stays awake at night. The Captain notices Eva and asks if he can help. He states that Little Kitty can sleep in his cabin at night. One night, Eva is suddenly woken up and told to quickly dress. Her father takes Eva  to the top deck. They are told that the Titanic hit an iceberg and everyone must get into lifeboats. Eva remembers Little Kitty and hurries to the Captain’s cabin. At first, only women and children enter the lifeboats so she leaves her father behind. Eva snuggles with Little Kitty and keeps close to her mother until they are rescued.

I thought Eva and Little Kitty on the Titanic was a delightful book while also being educational. I believe this is a good introduction to the Titanic tragedy for younger ages. The story is sweet and simple as you learn about a young girl exploring the ship. I also thought it was interesting that there were different opinions within the family: the father was excited and proud to be on the Titanic, yet the mother believed nothing could be unsinkable and had negative thoughts. Although the illustrations were nice and wholesome, I wasn’t personally fond of them. The style almost appeared out-dated. However, I still enjoyed the lovely story to introduce the Titanic.

Eva Hart was one of the last remaining Titanic survivors who died at age 91. Eva Hart was very outspoken about the Titanic sinking. She  once stated: “If a ship is torpedoed, that’s war. If it strikes a rock in a storm, that’s nature. But just to die because there weren’t enough lifeboats, that’s ridiculous.”

Eva with her parents
 
 
 
 

Book Review: Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum

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Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum 

Written and Illustrated by Meghan McCarthy 
Published April 5, 2011 by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books 
Genre/Topics: Nonfiction, Invention, Biography, Food
Ages: 6+, 40 pages 
 

Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum is the interesting story about how Dubble Bubble chewing gum was invented. It was made in small candy factory in Philadelphia in the 1920s by a man named Walter Diemer.  Walter was an accountant, but became curious about a laboratory next to his office. The company was trying to make a new kind of chewing gum. Walter experimented with different mixtures until finally bubbles formed. He added some flavor and began to chew it. Walter blew large bubbles from the mixture. However, the next day the mixture was as hard as a rock and wouldn’t blow a bubble. So, Walter continued to find the correct ingredients and finally had what he wanted. He added pink coloring, since that was the only color available. Batches were sent to  local stores and Walter Diemer gave gum blowing lessons. He never got rich from his invention, but he didn’t care because he enjoyed making people happy as they blew bubble gum. The book provides additional information about Walter Diemer, gum facts, and the history of gum.

Fun Gum Facts: 

  • If you swallow your gum, it won’t stay in your stomach for seven years.
  • Dubble Bubble was included in ration kits for American soldiers serving in World War II.
  • The largest bubble recorded is set by Susan Montgomery Williams for twenty-three inches in diameter.
  • During World War II, some kids kept their Dubble Bubble “alive” in glasses of water at night. Some even managed to continue chewing one piece for as long as a month!
  • Chewing sugarless gum can prevent tooth decay.
  • Chewing gum on an airplane will prevent your ears from popping.

A Book Review for Dr. Seuss’ Birthday!

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The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Become Dr. Seuss 

Written by Kathleen Krull
Illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Decorative Illustrations by Dr. Seuss
Ages: 8+, 43 pages
January 13, 2004 by Random House Books for Young Readers 
Topics: Biography 
 

The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Become Dr. Seuss chronicles his first twenty-two years that shaped him into a unique author. Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts.  Growing up, Ted loved reading, animals, drawing, and fun neighborhood activities. He even had first hand experience in a zoo, since his father became superintendent of parks. Ted also faced challenges. He was sometimes teased at school for having a German heritage. He often doodled in class and skipped classes in high school to watch movies. Ted attended Dartmouth College and was often known for being silly and nobody thought he could make a career from doodles. He wrote for a college magazine, but he was forced to resign. However, he still wrote for the magazine under the name Seuss, which was his mother’s maiden name and his middle name. After college, he traveled to England where he should have been studying literature at Oxford, instead he met his future wife who admired his drawings.  He returned home to Fairfield Street and sent his cartoons and illustrations to New York magazines. Finally, he received an acceptance letter from The Saturday Evening PostSoon more magazines desired Ted’s cartoons. He signed his work Dr. Theophrastus Seuss or Dr. Seuss, because he liked the sound of doctor and he wanted to save “Ted Geisel” for when he wrote his great success in the future. The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Become Dr. Seuss provides additional information about Geisel’s life after he left Fairfield Street with background about his books.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!