Great New Children's Book Story of the Titanic by Steve Noon


Nov 12, 2000
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The Book: Story of the Titanic by Steve Noon.

If you are in to spectacularly illustrated books, you need to check this one out. Noon is one of the best illustrators to come along in quite a while.

Story of the Titanic is a slender, but oversized 11 by 14 volume. Through out most of the book every two pages open out to a great double page painting; thats 11 by 28! These illustrations tell the story with wonderful cutaway drawings of the interior of the ship.

Now I am no expert, so I can't say if these drawings are as accurate as something Ken Marschall would do, but to my untrained eye, everything looked pretty accurate. There is so much going on in each painting, you can just let your eyes wander over the pages, catching some neat little highlight again and again.

I have always been a sucker for ship blueprints and cutaways. If you enjoy them too, you really need to see this one. It is available on-line at all the usual suspects.

best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
 

Joshua Gulch

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Mar 31, 2001
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Here's the book at Amazon.com: The Story of the Titanic

Judging from the cover illustration, while lavish and picturesque, the ship's riding just slightly low in the water, and seems to have some minor misproportions. Otherwise, looks good! (Correct #1 hatch, I might add!)

Josh.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Dec 3, 2000
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Thanks Michael and Josh!

Best regards,

Jason
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Dec 7, 2000
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I was planning for weeks to start this thread on this book but never got the chance. Now that someone else has started it, its easier to add
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Whilst the cutaways are very beautifully painted most of the interior depictions are highly incorrect. Just about every cabin he paints is painted incorrectly. He makes it look like every cabin on Titanic was a period suite (whilst in reality only some on B and C deck were). There are other inaccuracies as well in depictions of other rooms, but cabins being my most expertise area, I can say for sure that 95% of them are incorrect. I was delighted to see some of the details he incorporated into his paintings, but greatly disappointed by the inaccuracies of interior depictions.

Daniel.
 
Nov 12, 2000
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Hi Daniel,
your input is appreciated. I have never studied in depth what the interior of the ship looked like, so I knew it would be easy to fool me.

could you go into a bit more detail on some specific faults you found. I am wrestling with a review for this book to go on my website, and I want to be as accurate as possible.

does Noon, for instance, misplace any rooms on the ship? or is it that he has them placed properly, but took liberties with how the individual rooms actually looked?

you felt that 95% of the cabins were wrong. how about other areas of the ship? mostly correct in these areas? or did you spot problems with other compartments besides cabins?

even with its faults, I still really like this book. by telling the story almost exclusively through the cutaways, someone can really get a feel for what was happening where in the drama. it is a new angle on the story. Ken Marschall obviously did something similar in his Inside the Titanic, but not to the extent Noon has done.

any further input you have would be great!

best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
 

Dave Hudson

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Apr 15, 2011
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The cover painting is nice. Like Josh said, the proportions are a bit off in different places (the forecastle is too short and the promenade windows are too small), but historically, it's pretty good for being a children's book. They even have correct window placement for B Deck! Not quite Ken Marschall, but better than Stuart Williamson.

David
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Hi Michael,

I did not buy the book, so I have nothing to work from at the moment. I'll have to visit the bookshop again in order to answer some of your questions, but I'll try work from memory.

I would like to say though, that my hat goes off for Mr. Noon. He attempted to depict the Titanic with more life and more cutaways than have been done before. Although liberties were taken with interiors, it still makes a great children's book (so long as they don't grow up taking the depictions for granted).

About "misplacing" rooms, there is one room that I'd say is misplaced but not physically. If you look at the painting of the port side, which shows the B deck, B52 promenade (with Ismay) and then some suites, he has B58 and then B60. If you read your books you would know that his depiction of B60 is wrong. B64 was in that style. I know that exact style of all B deck suites is not known, but these cabins are known and pictures of them exists. This way, I feel he should have been able to get at least this area correct. His colors in these suites are wrong, but I won't blame him for it as they're rarely known, and even my theory on the colors is based on Olympic.

If you look on C deck, he has C62 in the right style, but then he has C64, 66 and I think C68 in exactly the same style as C62. This is wrong. Cabins, especially those adjoining the sitting rooms were never paneled in exactly the same styles as the sitting rooms.

The only cabins to be fitted in period styles were on B deck (the large suites - but not the most aft 3 rooms on each side) and on C deck, also not all of the large rooms on C deck were in a period style. Most other cabins were simple plain white walls with wood or brass beds. If you look at his depictions of other cabins you can clearly see that most if not all of them according to his paintings are in a period style.

I cannot remember the public rooms at all, as I was too distressed with the cabins.

I don't think he physically displaced any of the rooms he just painted them wrong. I'll try go and see the book again and will report back when I can.

Daniel.
 
Nov 12, 2000
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thanks for the input guys. that gives me a fairly solid feel for the strengths and weaknesses of Noon's art.

best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
 

Susan Alby

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Oct 22, 2004
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This full color picture book, illustrated by Steve Noon covers the entire history of the Titanic, from it's construction to it's early demise. L@@k carefully at the cut-out illustration details, you can see a woman in the shower (nude) and another guy sitting on a toilet. Also, Ladies and gentlemen could not go swimming in the heated salt water pool together. I am sure there were no women aloud in the Turkish Baths!

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0789479435/ref=pd_luc_23_lc_a4x0//103-1697739-9807055?v=glance&s=books
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Susan,

Ladies could use the Turkish Baths. - There were 2 female staff.

From a Fare Rate booklet:- Turkish and Electric Baths: ".......available for Ladies from 10 am to 1 pm ..... charge of $1 each."

The Swimming Bath: "..........and for ladies and gentlemen respectively during the day at the same hours as the Turkish Bath ....."
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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And also there's a very naughty view of Captain Smith in his Long Johns! The illustration which shows the Turkish baths and swimming bath is captioned as 2.15pm, and as far as I can see it correctly shows only men in those locations at that time. If the artist had chosen to represent the scene in mid-morning, he would of course have needed to show only women.
 
May 3, 2002
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Susan,

I gather you have a copy of this as the images on Amazon are quite innocuous, No, they are actually really good (the preview ones). I hardly think a book pitched at children would be X rated. Definitely not from the USA with is prevailing social climate.

martin
 

Susan Alby

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Oct 22, 2004
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From the drawing of the pool, it looks fairly small. Does anyone know its actual size? I also noticed that with exception to the first and the last picture, all of the illustrations show the starboard side. I would have liked to see more views from the port side.

Martin- I said 'X-rated' tongue-in-cheek, this book is recommended for all ages. I actually checked it out for my two young daughters and they loved it!
 
Dec 6, 2000
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In part the blurb from Amazon reads: "Reading level: Ages 4-8"; so it sounds like a children's book.

Susan, The Shipbuilder says the Swimming Bath is: "30ft long by 14ft wide".
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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If Titanic's bath had the same dimensions as that in Olympic, then it had a 'deep end' with a water depth of five feet, one and a half inches. At the shallow end it was four feet, five and a half inches.

Guess who just bought himself a copy of Mark Chirnside's latest book! :-}
 
Dec 8, 2000
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Glad your daughters liked the book, Susan.

I've amalgamated the thread Susan started (The Story of the Titanic ( X-rated?)) with the existing thread on Steve Noon's book so all discussion will be together and easily found by all interested.

Martin, my observation of current history publications for younger readers is that social realism is almost de rigueur rather than out of the ordinary. Nothing like the tame and sanitised histories of my childhood, that's for sure.

The more grotty detail of real lives (sickness, food, hygiene or lack thereof), the more the kids get stuck in. Hence the success of such 'horrible history' titles as Vile Victorians, Terrible Tudors, Ruthless Romans and so on. However, I do know a number of educators and librarians who believe that some of these titles err on the side of gratuity and prurience! All I know is that kids love 'em.
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Susan Alby

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Oct 22, 2004
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Hi Fiona and All,

Another reason why kids (of all ages) like this book is because it is like peeking into someone's private room on board. I see something different every time I look at all the detailed illustrations. Did anyone notice a rat running across the 3rd class 'general room'? The same illustration the night of the sinking shows a fair number of people strolling on the decks at 8:50 pm. I would imagine that there would have been very few people outside at this time. I guess he added more to make the picture more interesting to young readers. Still, in many ways this book was much more accurate/realistic than Cameron's movie!

Cheers,
Susan
 

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