Locomotive

( 11 )

Overview

The Caldecott Medal Winner, Sibert Honor Book, and New York Times bestseller Locomotive is a rich and detailed sensory exploration of America’s early railroads, from the creator of the stunning (Booklist) Moonshot.

It is the summer of 1869, and trains, crews, and family are traveling together, riding America’s brand-new transcontinental railroad. These pages come alive with the details of the trip and the sounds, speed, and strength of the ...

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Overview

The Caldecott Medal Winner, Sibert Honor Book, and New York Times bestseller Locomotive is a rich and detailed sensory exploration of America’s early railroads, from the creator of the stunning (Booklist) Moonshot.

It is the summer of 1869, and trains, crews, and family are traveling together, riding America’s brand-new transcontinental railroad. These pages come alive with the details of the trip and the sounds, speed, and strength of the mighty locomotives; the work that keeps them moving; and the thrill of travel from plains to mountain to ocean.

Come hear the hiss of the steam, feel the heat of the engine, watch the landscape race by. Come ride the rails, come cross the young country!

Winner of the 2014 Caldecott Medal
A 2014 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
A 2014 Orbis Pictus Award Honor Book
A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2013
A 2013 Parents' Choice Award Winner for Picture Books

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Bruce Handy
Locomotive is unusual for a picture book in that it is intended to please a fairly wide age group…Older children will appreciate the wealth of detail and history, while younger ones will be entranced by the appropriately chugga-chugga rhythm of Floca's free verse and his abundant use of sound effects…Everyone will be even more thrilled by Floca's illustrations. He's a brilliant, exacting draftsman; he also knows how to give his pictures a cinematic energy, especially in the way he "cuts" from page to page…Flipping through this book made me smile with pleasure before I even read it.
Publishers Weekly
In 1869, not long after the golden spike is driven into the rails at Promontory Summit, a mother and her two children climb aboard the Transcontinental Railroad, leaving behind their old life in Omaha for a new one in California, where Papa awaits. Floca (Moonshot) chronicles their journey from multiple perspectives: documentarian, poet, historian, tour guide, and irrepressible railroad geek. With the rhythmic, verselike text that’s become his signature; expressive typography; and handsome, detailed watercolor, ink, and gouache paintings, he celebrates the majestic (the passing western landscape), the marvelous (the engineering and sheer manpower required to keep the engine safely on its course), and the mundane, from the primitiveness of the toilets to the iffiness of depot food (“If the chicken/ tastes like prairie dog,/ don’t ask why”). It’s a magisterial work (even the endpapers command close reading), but always approachable in its artistry and erudition. And readers will come away understanding that the railroad wasn’t just about getting a group of passengers from Point A to Point B; it carried an entire nation into a new, more rapid world: “Faster, faster, turn the wheels,/ faster, faster breathes the engine!/ The country runs by, the cottonwoods and river./ Westward, westward,/ runs the train,/ through the prairies,/ to the Great Plains,/ on to the frontier.” Ages 4–10. (Sept.)
Horn Book STARRED REVIEW
"
Talk about a youth librarian’s dream come true: a big new book about those ever-popular trains from a bona fide picture-book-nonfiction all-star. Striking cinematic endpapers lay the groundwork, describing the creation of the Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s. Then, in a sort of historical-fiction-meets-travelogue narrative, Floca zeroes in on one family’s journey from Omaha to San Francisco. Floca excels at juxtaposing sweeping panoramas with intimate, slice-of-life moments: here a widescreen shot of the train chugging across the Great Plains; later a vignette at a “dollar for dinner” hash house (“If the chicken tastes like prairie dog, don’t ask why,” cautions the narrator). Varied font sizes and styles on the large pages beautifully capture the onomatopoeia (“Hisssssssss”; “huff huff huff”; “chug-chug chug-chug chug-chug”) of the train and the feel of the Old West. One spread finds the train precariously crossing a trestle (“The train is so heavy, the bridge is so narrow, and rickety rickety rickety!”); the concluding ricketys are displayed in an appropriately jarring shadowed font alongside a picture of passengers shaking—and praying—in their seats. Luckily, our family makes it safely to its destination: “the country’s far corners have been pulled together…thanks to the locomotive.” An author’s note and thorough discussion of the sources used are included, and don’t miss the back endpapers—the steam power diagram would make David Macaulay proud."
School Library Journal
* "It all started with “a new road of rails/made for people to ride” where “covered wagons used to crawl.” Almost 150 years ago–just after the Civil War–the completion of the transcontinental railway radically changed both this country’s landscape and the opportunities of its people. The book traces the advent of cross-country train travel, focusing on an early trip from Omaha to Sacramento. As in Moonshot (2009) and Lightship (2007, both S & S), Floca proves himself masterful with words, art, and ideas. The book’s large format offers space for a robust story in a hefty package of information…the travelogue scheme will read aloud nicely and also offers absorbing details for leisurely personal reading. Substantial introductory and concluding sections serve older readers. There’s also a detailed explanation of the author’s efforts and sources in exploring his subject. Train buffs and history fans of many ages will find much to savor in this gorgeously rendered and intelligent effort.”
From the Publisher
* "Floca took readers to the moon with the Apollo 11 mission in Moonshot (2009); now he takes them across the country on an equally historic journey of 100 years earlier.

In a collegial direct address, he invites readers to join a family—mother, daughter and son—on one of the first passenger trips from Omaha to Sacramento after the meeting of the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific in May 1869. With encyclopedic enthusiasm, Floca visually documents the trip, vignettes illustrating the train’s equipment as well as such must-know details as toilet and sleeping conditions. Full- and double-page spreads take advantage of the book’s unusually large trim for breathtaking long shots of the American landscape and thrilling perspectives of the muscular engine itself. The nameless girl and boy provide touchstones for readers throughout, dubiously eyeing an unidentifiable dinner, juddering across a trestle, staring out with wide-eyed wonder. Unjustly undersung as a writer, Floca soars with his free-verse narrative, exploiting alliteration, assonance and internal rhyme to reinforce the rhythms of the journey. Frequent variations in font and type (“HUFF HUFF HUFF!” is spelled out in ornate, antique letters) further boost the excitement. Front endpapers provide detail on the building of the transcontinental railroad; back endpapers show the steam engine in cross section, explaining exactly how coal and water made it go.

Nothing short of spectacular, just like the journey it describes."

Booklist
* “Floca follows up the acclaimed Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 (2009) with this ebullient, breathtaking look at a family’s 1869 journey from Omaha to Sacramento via the newly completed Transcontinental Railroad…. It’s impossible to turn a page without learning something…multiple wow moments...will knock readers from their chairs. Fantastic opening and closing notes make this the book for young train enthusiasts.”
Booklist
* “Floca follows up the acclaimed Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 (2009) with this ebullient, breathtaking look at a family’s 1869 journey from Omaha to Sacramento via the newly completed Transcontinental Railroad…. It’s impossible to turn a page without learning something…multiple wow moments...will knock readers from their chairs. Fantastic opening and closing notes make this the book for young train enthusiasts.”
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
Have you ever taken a train ride? In this wonderful passage through the history of locomotion, Brian Floca takes young readers on a journey through the imagination, into another place and time. Readers climb aboard a railroad in the 1870s, crossing the country for the first time with pioneers of this age. The trip begins at a depot, where readers hear a clanging of a bell, and then see the smudge and clouds of smoke in the distance. The iron horse, a magnificent machine, fifty feet of spinning metal, runs down the track to the accompanying onomatopoeic sounds. Then readers step into the train and watch the fireman, the engineer, and the conductor at work. Outside, the city and country blur into a single motion, as the train moves forward. The wheels turn faster and faster, creating anticipation for young readers who will step back in time with this wonderful adventure. But the world is speeding up, and words are traveling by wire. The train swings swiftly through the country, connecting the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific. Finally the young reader arrives at his final destination in San Francisco, after crossing wide plains and deserts. Children of all ages will enjoy the sweeping prose and the blending landscape that merges the past and present upon the page. This book contains poetic prose and inspiring landscapes that readers of all age will appreciate. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.; Ages 6 to 9.
Kirkus Reviews
Floca took readers to the moon with the Apollo 11 mission in Moonshot (2009); now he takes them across the country on an equally historic journey of 100 years earlier. In a collegial direct address, he invites readers to join a family--mother, daughter and son--on one of the first passenger trips from Omaha to Sacramento after the meeting of the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific in May 1869. With encyclopedic enthusiasm, Floca visually documents the trip, vignettes illustrating the train's equipment as well as such must-know details as toilet and sleeping conditions. Full- and double-page spreads take advantage of the book's unusually large trim for breathtaking long shots of the American landscape and thrilling perspectives of the muscular engine itself. The nameless girl and boy provide touchstones for readers throughout, dubiously eyeing an unidentifiable dinner, juddering across a trestle, staring out with wide-eyed wonder. Unjustly undersung as a writer, Floca soars with his free-verse narrative, exploiting alliteration, assonance and internal rhyme to reinforce the rhythms of the journey. Frequent variations in font and type ("HUFF HUFF HUFF!" is spelled out in ornate, antique letters) further boost the excitement. Front endpapers provide detail on the building of the transcontinental railroad; back endpapers show the steam engine in cross section, explaining exactly how coal and water made it go. Nothing short of spectacular, just like the journey it describes. (Informational picture book. 4-10)
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—It all started with "a new road of rails/made for people to ride" where "covered wagons used to crawl." Almost 150 years ago-just after the Civil War-the completion of the transcontinental railway radically changed both this country's landscape and the opportunities of its people. The book traces the advent of cross-country train travel, focusing on an early trip from Omaha to Sacramento. As in Moonshot (2009) and Lightship (2007, both S & S), Floca proves himself masterful with words, art, and ideas. The book's large format offers space for a robust story in a hefty package of information. Set in well-paced blank verse, the text begins with a quick sketch of "how this road was built" and moves abruptly to the passengers on the platform and the approaching train. The author smoothly integrates descriptions of the structure and mechanics of the locomotive, tasks of crew members, passing landscapes, and experiences of passengers. Simply sketched people and backgrounds, striking views of the locomotive, and broad scenes of unpopulated terrain are framed in small vignettes or sweep across the page. Though a bit technical in explaining engine parts, the travelogue scheme will read aloud nicely and also offers absorbing details for leisurely personal reading. Substantial introductory and concluding sections serve older readers. There's also a detailed explanation of the author's efforts and sources in exploring his subject. Train buffs and history fans of many ages will find much to savor in this gorgeously rendered and intelligent effort.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416994152
  • Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
  • Publication date: 9/3/2013
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 10,077
  • Age range: 4 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 840L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.60 (w) x 11.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Floca is the author and illustrator of Locomotive, winner of the 2013 Caldecott Medal; Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; Lightship, also a Sibert Honor Book; and Racecar Alphabet, an ALA Notable Children’s Book. He has illustrated Avi’s Poppy Stories, Kate Messner’s Marty McGuire novels, and Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan’s Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, a Sibert Honor Book and winner of the Orbis Pictus Award. You can visit him online at BrianFloca.com.

Brian Floca is the author and illustrator of Locomotive, winner of the 2013 Caldecott Medal; Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; Lightship, also a Sibert Honor Book; and Racecar Alphabet, an ALA Notable Children’s Book. He has illustrated Avi’s Poppy Stories, Kate Messner’s Marty McGuire novels, and Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan’s Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, a Sibert Honor Book and winner of the Orbis Pictus Award. You can visit him online at BrianFloca.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2013

    Does not work on iPad.

    Warning. Nook for iPad says it is not supported on this device. That should be prominently stated so one knows before buying.

    4 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 11, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This book is not meant to be read on a digital device.  It's art

    This book is not meant to be read on a digital device.  It's artwork and poetic verse cannot appreciated on a computer screen.  There are plenty of books to fluff your gigs with.  This book is not one of them.  Floca brilliantly combines art and history to Locomotive.  THANK YOU FLOCA!  

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 1, 2014

    After Monday, January 27, 2013, I probably don't have to explain

    After Monday, January 27, 2013, I probably don't have to explain why I would buy this book.  (Congratulations, Brian), but I will tell you why I like this book and why we own it in its pre- shiny sticker state.
    Trains and books are big at our house; so big, in fact, that when I first found out I was pregnant with my son, I bought books and my husband bought train sets -- the gender of the child was irrelevant.
    Locomotive is an exquisitely illustrated book about... wait for it... trains.  It is also a beautifully written story about history.  Anyone remotely interested in trains, history, and beautiful books should own a copy of this book.
    In a year packed with notable and truly excellent children's books, it is not surprisingly that this book rose to the top. 

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    Worked great

    The book worked great on our nook and my son loved it. The narrators voice was pleasant and the entonation and inflections made it easy for my son to follow

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2013

    Not spported on iPad or simple nook!

    Not spported on iPad or simple nook! Worthless if you can't actually read it! Waste of money!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 13, 2014

    A book that my grandson will read over and over for years

    This book is great from almost every perspective -- the story, the illustrations, the history, and a new take on the old cross-country rail saga. So glad we found it, It made a great gift for our grandson.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 21, 2014

    This is a fascinating book to pore over for any age. There is mu

    This is a fascinating book to pore over for any age. There is much information on the endpapers and last pages. Buy it for yourself and enjoy! 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    Recommended!

    Interesting layout and story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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