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Steam Locomotives: Whistling, Chugging, Smoking Iron Horses of the Past

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Once they were a familiar sight: iron horses belching smoke and steam, chugging out of depots and racing across the countryside. Those spectacular steam locomotives are gone. But in this fascinating book, Karl Zimmermann, an authority on trains, takes young readers back to a colorful era of railroad history. He traces the development of the steam locomotive from early engines, such as the little Tom Thumb, to "Big Boy," the largest locomotive ever built. He explains how steam locomotives work; how they are ...
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Overview


Once they were a familiar sight: iron horses belching smoke and steam, chugging out of depots and racing across the countryside. Those spectacular steam locomotives are gone. But in this fascinating book, Karl Zimmermann, an authority on trains, takes young readers back to a colorful era of railroad history. He traces the development of the steam locomotive from early engines, such as the little Tom Thumb, to "Big Boy," the largest locomotive ever built. He explains how steam locomotives work; how they are classified; why they were vanquished by the diesel; and why those magnificent machines still hold us spellbound. Chock-full of facts, and featuring stunning full-color and archival photographs of steam locomotives in the United States, Canada, and other countries, this book will fire the imagination of any young reader who ever dreamed of getting behind the throttle of a mighty steam locomotive.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
According to this very personal look at the steam engine, Zimmerman began his love of the machines at a young age. His parents allowed him, at 13, to travel with a friend from New York City's Penn Station to Roanoke, Virginia, where he spent a wonderful few days before steam engines were taken from circulation. This sets the stage for an overview of the development of steam power, the arrival and use of steam locomotives in America in the 1830s, and the curious naming of engines. While common steam locomotives had numeric names, 4-6-2, for instance, they also had common names that bespoke their destinations, size or functions. Train lovers will appreciate a chapter entitled "The Care and Feeding of the Iron Horses," as well as the pristine, mostly full color, photographs whose clarity suggest careful photo selection and editing. There is a glossary, index, author's note with websites for some dozen places around the country where you can see and ride steam locomotives. There is also a cutaway diagram of a locomotive with names of the working parts to assist train lovers as well as report writers in appreciating this bit of American history. 2004, Boyds Mills Press, Ages 10 to 14.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-In this photo-essay, Zimmermann shares his excitement for steam locomotives with young readers, tracing the development of the early engines and their impact on the history of the U.S. He includes a clear explanation (complete with diagrams) of how a steam engine works. The photographs, some archival and some from the present day, are excellent. The full-color pictures of the machines still in use across the U.S., Canada, and other countries capture the drama of these spectacular locomotives. The engaging text clearly imparts the author's enthusiasm and love for the subject. A list of Web sites of locations where one can still see steam locomotives in action, and even take a ride, is included. All aboard!-Jennifer Ralston, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, MD Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This vivid appreciation combines big, dramatic color photos taken in several countries over a nearly 40-year span with a lively, opinionated history that will clue readers in to both the development (and jargon) of steam railroading, and its enduring fascination. After opening with a personal reminiscence ("Love Those Locomotives!"), Zimmermann chronicles the growth of steam engines, from early "grasshoppers" to the mammoth "Big Boys" that roared over the US before being superceded by today's diesel-electric models. He tucks in side looks at renowned incidents and exploits, and closes with a poignantly short list of places where steam driven trains still run. His photos make those in other photo-surveys, such as Seymour Simon's Book of Trains (2002) look pallid, and his prose-"Tall driving wheels whirred, rods waved frantically, smoke belched from stacks"-is just as pictorial; few readers will come away without being caught up in the wonder of these magical, fuming behemoths. (index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590781654
  • Publisher: Highlights Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2004
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Karl Zimmermann has written or co-authored fifteen books, all in one way or another about trains, including Magnetic North: Canadian Steam in Twilight (with Roger Cook); A Decade of D&H; Domeliners: Yesterday's Trains of Tomorrow; and 20th Century Limited. Mr. Zimmermann lives in Norwood, New Jersey.
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