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Trains

( 2 )

Overview

From steam engines to diesel engines and box cars to sleeper cars, a ride on Lynn Curlee’s Trains is about as close as most kids can hope to get to the Japanese bullet train or the inner workings of steam power. This book’s bold, graphic acrylic paintings are a perfect match for sleek, modern engines; dark, dirty locomotives; and the sprawling landscapes of the countryside. Thoroughly researched and very kid-friendly, Trains tells the history of the railroad, and in doing so, the history of America. This stunning...

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Overview

From steam engines to diesel engines and box cars to sleeper cars, a ride on Lynn Curlee’s Trains is about as close as most kids can hope to get to the Japanese bullet train or the inner workings of steam power. This book’s bold, graphic acrylic paintings are a perfect match for sleek, modern engines; dark, dirty locomotives; and the sprawling landscapes of the countryside. Thoroughly researched and very kid-friendly, Trains tells the history of the railroad, and in doing so, the history of America. This stunning book is one part history, one part art gallery, and a truly terrific ride!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

As in previous works (Brooklyn Bridge; Skyscraper), Curlee illuminates a single subject-this time trains-with stunning, clean-lined illustrations and informative narration. He opens with a romantic reminiscence about the mighty engines that rumbled through his North Carolina hometown. "We listened to the rhythmic clickety-clack of their steel wheels against the rails and the plaintive echoes of their whistles dying away as the trains sped through the night." Launching into a chronological account of the evolution of the "iron horse," subsequent pages highlight major developments in (mostly American) railroad history, from the first steam engines to run on rails to the high-speed trains of Europe and Asia. Flatly styled and employing limited color palettes, several of Curlee's acrylic paintings will impress and awe readers with ground-up perspectives of trains set against broad expanses of sky or mountain ranges and sometimes put into historical context with people in the foreground. The author leaves readers to ponder whether modern trains, more efficient than their predecessors, may offer "a highway into the future" for a nation "built by the railroads." All ages. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Carolyn Mott Ford
The award-winning author and illustrator of The Brooklyn Bridge has produced a book for young readers that will appeal to those of all ages. The graphic illustrations, done in acrylic on canvas, are magnificent, and a two-page spread diagrams the working of a steam locomotive. The author personalizes the subject by explaining how his hometown was developed because the North Carolina Railroad arrived in 1855 and how, years later, he would stay at his grandparent's home and listen to the sounds of the train speeding down the tracks. The history of the development of the steam engine and the changes it wrought in the country as well as the subsequent improvements may be surprising to some young readers who may not realize how dramatically our society was changed by these innovations. The text explores the problems inherent in building a transcontinental railroad and the age of elegant rail travel shows how desirable that mode of transportation was in a time when highway travel was difficult and air travel was often not possible. Students will learn important facts about the history of the country as they read this history of the railroads. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal

Gr 4-6

A readable overview of the growth of rail transportation. Beginning with a discussion of how railroads impacted his hometown of High Point, NC, Curlee turns to a description of the steam engine's evolution, followed by a look at how those engines were replaced by diesels. The smoothly flowing text is peppered with interesting details and explanations of how historical events shaped train technology. Some background knowledge in American history helps in understanding the material. Emphasis is on the emergence of American rail transportation, but when appropriate, mention is given to other countries. Curlee concludes by noting future train travel possibilities through "magnetic levitation" and suggests that upgraded rail transportation could be important in light of world energy problems and global warming. The lengthy pages of text are divided by occasional headings. Full-page color acrylic paintings with representation of different trains and historical time periods are the hallmark of the work and set this informational book apart from other titles on the subject. A few handsome spreads are sprinkled in among the other high-quality illustrations. Costumes worn by characters in the paintings nicely convey the changing eras. An appended diagram shows how a steam engine works; it's unfortunate that it wasn't placed closer to the pertinent passages in the text. Nonetheless, this is another solid addition to Curlee's body of work.-Lynn K. Vanca, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Richfield, OH

Kirkus Reviews
A celebration more than a complete chronicle, this beautifully illustrated volume offers a personal and affectionate look at the place of the railroad in history. Beginning with the impact of trains on his home town of High Point, N.C., Curlee looks backward to the invention of the locomotive in England, describes the constant improvements made by various engineers and weighs the impact of the increasing use of trains to transport freight and people across the countryside. He notes in particular that railroads supported the expansion of the United States and the fulfillment of our "manifest destiny." His overview, couched in sophisticated language, doesn't confine itself to the past; refreshingly, the author proposes a viable future for this transformative transportation technology. Stylized paintings in mostly muted colors offer varying perspectives, from a man and child dwarfed by a huge, sleek engine to the mercifully abstract depiction of a fiery calamity. Labeled diagrams supplement the text and provide additional information. Sure to fascinate existing enthusiasts, this elegant survey will likely also create some new fans. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416948483
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 5/5/2009
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 506,391
  • Age range: 3 months - 1 year
  • Lexile: NC1260L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.30 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynn Curlee received a 2002 Sibert Honor for Brooklyn Bridge. His other works include Ships of the Air, Into the Ice: The Story of Arctic Exploration, Rushmore, Liberty, Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Capital, Parthenon, Ballpark, Skyscraper, and most recently, Mythological Creatures. He lives in Jamesport, New York. You can learn more about him at curleeart.com.

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Customer Reviews

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