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Locomotive (Caldecott Medal Book) Hardcover – September 3, 2013

Product Description

Imported from USA

From School Library Journal
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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, Bostonα(c) Copyright 2013. Library
Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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*Starred Review* 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. The unnamed family is a launching point for Floca’s irrepressible exploration into, well,
everything about early rail travel, from crew responsibilities and machinery specifics to the sensory thrills of a
bridge rumbling beneath and the wind blasting into your face. The substantial text is delivered in nonrhyming stanzas as
enlightening as they are poetic: the “smoke and cinders, / ash and sweat” of the coal engine and the Great Plains
stretching out “empty as an ocean.” Blasting through these artful compositions are the bellows of the conductor (“FULL
STEAM AHEAD”) and the scream of the train whistle, so loud that it bleeds off the page: “WHOOOOOOO!” Font styles swap
restlessly to best embody each noise (see the blunt, bold “SPIT” versus the ornate, ballooning “HUFF HUFF HUFF”). Just
as heart pounding are Floca’s bold, detailed watercolors, which swap massive close-ups of barreling locomotives with
sweeping bird’s-eye views that show how even these metal giants were dwarfed by nature. It’s impossible to turn a page
without learning something, but it’s these multiple wow moments that will knock readers from their chairs. Fantastic
opening and closing notes make this the book for young train enthusiasts. Grades K-3. --Daniel Kraus

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