Mutt loves his human girl, Alice. When he discovers that his owner and best friend, Alice, plans to sail to the new world on the Titanic without him, he’s determined to find a way on the ship. Mutt is terrified of the water, but he won’t let an ocean separate him from Alice. A friendly rat, King Leon, helps Mutt sneak aboard the ship. But it isn’t long before the captain’s cat, Clara, discovers the stowaways. Reluctantly, Clara agrees to help Mutt find Alice. But first, Mutt must agree to look after three abandoned kittens that Clara found in a lifeboat.
A mangy dog, a friendly rat, and a pamper cat work together to stay hidden from the humans and keep the kittens alive. But when the unthinkable happens and the so-called unsinkable ship hits an iceberg, Mutt and his new friends have to race against the clock to find their humans—and to survive.
Survival Tails: The Titanic takes the reader on a trip back in time when everyone thought the Titanic was unsinkable. Told from Mutt’s point of view, the story takes a unique look at the ship through the eyes of animals. For the stowaway animals, life on the Titanic is dangerous. Not only do they have to scrounge for food, but they also have to avoid the humans who most likely would throw overboard. As the story unfolds, readers will fall in love with each animal, whose unique personality comes to life. Even though the animals could have easily become enemies, they unite to form an unlikely friendship that puts the kittens’ needs above their own.
Suspense builds from the very first page and ends with the heart-wrenching sinking of the Titanic. The story contains pockets of humor and has three black and white pictures that help bring the scenes into sharper focus. The animal’s loyalty to each other and their humans is heartwarming. However, Survival Tails: The Titanic doesn’t shy away from showing the discrimination between the first-class passengers and the third-class passengers. In the end, it didn’t matter what class a person was. When the Titanic was sinking, the passengers realized, “in the end, few things truly mattered.”
Survival Tails: The Titanic uses a unique point of view to create a suspenseful, beautiful story of friendship and love. Even though the story focuses on the animals, it stays loyal to the historical facts of the Titanic. Although the sinking of the ship is described in a kid-friendly manner and the death of people is never described, the ending is heart-wrenching and will have readers crying as several of the characters they loved are doomed to death.
Readers who have read The Last Firehawk series may be tempted to pick up Survival Tails: The Titanic because they share the same author. However, The Last Firehawk series is intended for a younger audience. Younger readers may not be ready for the intense events portrayed in Survival Tails: The Titanic. At the end of the book, readers will find a glossary, as well as more historical information about the Titanic. Everyone who enjoys a suspenseful animal story should read Survival Tails: The Titanic; the characters will leave a lasting impact on readers and make them think about the nature of friendship.
- When Mutt was trying to get onto the Titanic, a woman sees Mutt and, “let out an ear-piercing shriek as Mutt peered sheepishly back up at her. She swung her handbag, hitting Mutt full-force in the head before he had a chance to scarper. With a low whine, Mutt turned and ran as fast as he could. . .”
- Mutt tries to steal an abandoned sandwich from a plate. Mutt’s friend tried to warn him, but “before Mutt could figure out what had King Leon spooked, he heard an almighty screech. Razor-sharp teeth clamped down on the end of his tail. It was all he could do to not howl and give himself away to the nearby humans.”
- Mutt, King Leon, and three kittens sneak into the kitchen to try to eat scraps of food. When the humans returned, “they took one look at the dog, rat, and three kittens eating their food and ran at them, screaming and shouting. . .” The animals run and Mutt ducked “as one of the humans swung an empty frying pan at his head. . . The man spun around and around, trying to catch on of the furry blurs, until he became so dizzy he fell over, crashing not a pile of crockery, which smashed to the floor.” The animals are able to escape.
- When the Titanic was sinking, an officer was trying to load a boat with women and children. A group of men tried to “push past and swarm the lifeboat, which was already swinging precariously out over the water. A woman screamed, and before Mutt knew what was happening, an earsplitting gunshot rang out as an officer fired his gun in the air, silencing the crowd.”
- When Mutt is in the ocean, a man grabs onto his tail. “Water closed over his head as Mutt sank beneath the surface. His lungs screamed with the desperate need for air as he kicked his legs wildly. . . But the man still would not let go, so Mutt did the only thing he could, hoping it might save them both. Mutt turned and sank his teeth deep into the man’s hand, yanking it upward in the direction of the surface. The man immediately released his grip and swam back up the surface.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- When Clara was walking along the boat’s deck, she saw a group of men “playing cards and drinking in the smoking room.”
- When the Titanic hit an iceberg, some of the men “were drinking whisky and smoking cigars as though they hadn’t a care in the world.”
- As the Titanic was sinking, Mutt walks by a “group of humans standing before a man dressed in a black robe, like the reverend at Alice’s church. Their eyes were closed and they knelt on the deck, listening to the man’s prayers, even as chaos erupted all around then.”
- Mutt isn’t sure if he should jump into the water or stay on the sinking ship. As he considers his options, “The Titanic ripped apart into two halves. As the stern started to fall back toward the water, almost in slow motion, Mutt recalled a prayer that Alice’s mother used to make Alice recite every night before she went to bed. He didn’t’ know much about what it was for, or why she did it, but it seemed to bring Alice’s mother comfort.