Diane Prather: A story of the pig and the Titanic

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Diane Prather

Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.

A lot has been written about the Titanic. In fact, it might seem that there's nothing else to write about it. But then, surprise, it seems that there was a pig on board the ship - a true story.

Sasha Nelson, assistant librarian for children's services at the Moffat County Library, left this week's picture book for me at the library's front desk. "Pig on the Titanic: A True Story" was written by Gary Crew with pictures by Bruce Whatley.

Maxixe, the pig, is white-gray colored and has a curly tail. He also has a cute grin, and his eyes are closed as though he's thinking happy thoughts. When his tail is wound up, the little pig sings the maxixe, the name for a dance. The Titanic pig is a music box.

Maxixe also is the narrator of the book. He begins the story as Miss Edith Rosenbaum, the famous fashion buyer, is about to board the ship. That's when her mother gives Miss Edith a gift, and she unwraps Maxixe, the musical French pig. Mama says he's a good luck charm for a voyage that could be dangerous.

And so Miss Edith and Maxixe are off for New York, where Miss Edith will show off her newest fashions. Maxixe is proud to be sailing on such a grand ship.

Miss Edith carries Maxixe all over the ship. A large drawing of the Titanic, with cut-away sections, shows some of the places Maxixe gets to visit. There's the pool, the reading room, the elegant staircase, the captain's table and more.

Then the Titanic hits the iceberg. During the terrible disaster, when people have to abandon ship, Miss Edith wraps her good-luck charm in a blanket and takes him with her.

There's a lot of confusion as women and children are loaded into lifeboats. Miss Edith refuses to get into a lifeboat until the other women and children are in the boats first. But, one sailor mistakes Maxixe for a baby. He grabs the wrapped up pig and tries to save "the baby" by throwing it into a lifeboat. Miss Edith jumps in after Maxixe.

The children in the lifeboat are cold and frightened. Miss Edith unwraps Maxixe and winds up his tail. Even though the music box was damaged when thrown into the boat, it still plays music and cheers up the children. They pass Maxixe from one to the other all night long, until they're rescued. Maxixe is a hero.

According to the historical information in the author's note, Miss Edith lived 63 years after the Titanic sank. Maxixe is kept in a special glass case in a collection in New York.

This is a must-read about a very compassionate woman.

Both author and illustrator of this book live in Australia. Gary Crew has written many books for children and young adults.

Two of his award-winning books (in Australia) are: "First Light" and "The Watertower." Examples of Bruce Whatley's illustrated books include "The Teddy Bear's Picnic" and "Santa Claus is coming to town."

"Pig on the Titanic: A True Story" is published by Harper Collins Publishers (2005). The hardcover book costs $15.99.

If you'd like to see a book reviewed, call me at 824-8809 or write to me at P.O. Box 415, Craig 81626.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2007. All rights reserved.

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